Cheap Android phones are ruining the Android Experience

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There's a saying that  "you get what you pay for and" that's how I feel about the market for budget Android smartphones which cost $200 or less. Quite often this is the price point at which most people get into the Android ecosystem. at this price point, the manufacturers are so budget constrained that they make a lot of bad decisions to keep their device affordable "After all better soup na money kill am".

So a few days ago, I was listening to my cousin rant about his new "Nokia 6" (obviously was a Chinese clone). He had bought the phone as a replacement for his iPhone 6 and was complaining about the performance or lack of it.
He had the quintessential problems associated with cheap things; the display looked bad, the touch response was off by a second or two, couldn't install any more apps, e.t.c. He was having a bad experience and blamed it on Android. He didn't see reason in the thought that a cheap phone would not be as good as an expensive one. He earnestly believed that because the phone was made by Nokia it had to be good which in my mind is the equivalent of complaining that a Kia Rio doesn't perform quite as well as a Mercedes Benz S600. We had a chat as I tried to help him troubleshoot (I gave up after sometime, frankly I'm tired of helping people set-up their cheap Chinese knock-off phones). I spent sometime explaining to him why cheap phones would suck and justifiably so. I mean how else would people relearn life's great lesson that cheap and good seldom to hand in hand.  However manufacturers need to do better going forward and realise that this race to zero is not doing anybody any good long term, it's not good for their bottom line or the billions of Android users who would be put off by the bad experience they are inevitably going to have. All they're going to do is push people to iOS or other brands.

Check out the Vaunt, the first cool smart glasses

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Wearables have been the hot button in the consumer technology market for quite something with different companies such as Google, Apple, Samsung, Xiaomi, Peeble, Microsoft and others all duking it out to put  an electronic gadget on any other  part of your body.

While Apple has found some success with the Apple watch, the others haven't been as fortunate. Samsung's Gear S have yet to sell in their millions, Microsoft's effort with the HoloLens is still years from consumer market and Google's Glass effort is pretty much a failed product. While the Google Glass pretty much failed but its more or less the inspiration behind Intel's foray into smart glasses with the Vaunt. Intel has taken a less is more approach in making the Vaunt, gone is the camera, microphone and LCD display. Intel has gotten rid of everything that would have made the Vaunt look more like a gadget than just a run of the mill everyday eyewear.



The Intel Vaunt for the most part consists of the frame, lens, a very low power laser built into the right stem of the frames. The Vaunt works by shining a red monochrome image onto a holographic reflector on the glass's right lens, the image is then reflected into the back of your eyeball, directly onto the retina. This makes it indistinguishable from regular glasses to other people as there's nothing to give it away not even the laser. One could easily peruse through his notifications without anyone been none the wiser about it.

The left stem houses the electronics which helps in keeping the Vaunt balanced. The Vaunt weighs about 50g which keeps it light enough to be comfortably worn for long periods like regular glasses. The battery life is said to be really good and offers all day usage of about 18 hours. The Vaunt manages this feat by offloading most of the processing to the companion app which can be installed on an Android or iOS kinda like almost every wearable device in the market.

What makes the Vaunt shine is that it's designed to be non-intrusive, the information shown never displayed in one's field of vision rather it's display at lower right. Like most wearables, the Vaunt would use for receiving notifications, reading & responding to messages, turn by turn navigation, and whatever app developers can dream of (Intel is offering an early access to developers sometime this year). Hopefully the Vaunt would translate to any actual product (Please Apple license this product, I promise I'd buy it) 🤞.

I'm officially done with the Grammys

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Around this time every year, I offer up my night rest to Media the god of TV as a sacrifice as I keep tabs on one of my favourite annual events. For many a year I've followed the Grammy award show religiously revelling in the euphoria of associated with winning one of those golden gramophones and cheering as artist after artist engage in song & dance as in the old greek tradition in honour of Apollo .

Over the years, my interest in the Grammys have waned first been hit with the realisation that the criteria for adjudging who was deserving of a Grammy was utter rubbish and then the level of performance had dropped.  As I watched this year's Grammy award show which opened with a performance by Kendrick Lamar (whoever is in charge of performances, please stop inviting Kendrick) something broke in me. I was fully awaken to what many people have come to realise; The Grammy Award show is Shite. The awards continuing ended being given to the wrong acts, the performances are rubbish, and the delay between segments is just mental.

Next year I'm definitely joining the ranks of people who are indifferent to the Grammy awards and get a good night's sleep.

Yuck! Is this really the Samsung Galaxy S9?

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Well, a press render of the Galaxy S9 and S9+ just surfaced and it kinda looks a step backwards when compared to last year's rather gorgeous Galaxy S8. In many ways, it looks like a lot like the LG G6 (which spawned the Pixel 2 XL and the LG V30). While the LG G6 is a beauty, it pales when compared to the Galaxy S8.

Galaxy S8 vs Galaxy S9


The biggest casualty with this redesign is the amazing Infinity Display of the Galaxy S8. With the Galaxy S9, Samsung is doing away with the wrap around curve display and also the minimal bezels of the Galaxy S8 is replaced by a chunkier bezel.

Galaxy S9 vs Pixel 2 XL vs LG V30

It's ming-boogling to see Samsung go this way with the Galaxy S9. It could have used this opportunity to really give the Apple a fight for our money after the iPhone X and put more daylight between it and the other Android manufacturers however it chosen to go backwards with its design.

An investigation into Modern Romance

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I tried something new over the past week, i spent sometime glossing over a relationship book, a genre you'd never catch reading until now. I've always had the belief that most of the things found in many of such books seldom have real world use. I only read the book because of the author Aziz Ansari who also happens to be the main character of Master of None; you can find it on Netflix, do check out Episodes 101, 105, 106, 201, 204, 208, 209.

One of the things about the book  that struck me about the book was the acknowledgement of the author(s) that they (or the book) did not hold the key to unlocking relationship Nirvana. Rather they touch on various aspects of modern day romance and comparing it with what was obtainable in the past; highlighting the role of technology has played on dating.
Aziz did something that I liked, he showed how dating evolved through the years from dating people your parents agreed upon, to dating people within close proximity, to classified ads in the newspapers, video ads, dating websites and apps. It showed these methods have changed the way people sought out their partners. No longer were people limited to dating people who lived as far as they could throw a stone, It was no longer uncommon to find people dating people who didn't live in the same city, heck you wouldn't be pressed to find people dating people who lived in another country. It also showed that while technology had helped to bridge between peeps waylaid by distance, it has also come at a cost. While it has given us more options that before, we haven't done that well in handling the constant streaming of options available within reach.

It loved the use of anecdotes, the exploration of how people in other cultures sought after their partners, the challenges they faced. Overall I really enjoyed reading this and would absolutely recommend it to anyone thinking of getting into, already in one or just got out of one.


Useful Links
Buy the book "Modern Romance: An Investigation" on Amazon
Buy the book "Modern Romance: An Investigation" on Amazon

5 things that could make the Galaxy S9 even better

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We are just a month away from the official announcement of the primo Android smartphone(s). the Galaxy S9(+) While we know what to expect from the Samsung with the Galaxy S9, which is basically a refinement of the gorgeous of the Galaxy S8(+) and then there's the leaked retail box which revealed quite a few details about the Samsung Galaxy S9 specs.

If you haven't seen it already, Samsung is keeping the 12MP camera but adding a variable wide aperture, they're also sticking a dual camera system in the Plus version only a la the iPhone. It's also keeping the 4GB RAM, adding a stereo speaker system, IP68, better iris scanner.


While all these are good, I can feel that Samsung could've made it great. So here are a few things that I think Samsung should do with the S9.

1. In-Display Fingerprint Sensor
With the push for slimmer bezels on the modern day smartphone, having the fingerprint reader under the display as opposed to the back looks like the only way to go. Considering that placement of the fingerprint sensor on last year's Galaxy S8 was downright ridiculous. While Samsung have been rumored to be working on this tech in the run up to the release of the Galaxy S8 and Note 8. The technology never made it to the final product as it wasn't quite ready for prime time. But as we've seen with the new Vivo X20 Plus UD smartphone, the tech is ready.

2. Dual Cameras on Both Smartphones
According to the leaked retail box, Samsung is only putting the dual camera setup on the bigger Galaxy S9+ kinda like what Apple does with the iPhone. Gimping the smaller Galaxy S9 is a bad move to me, it's either going to force people towards the Plus model or elsewhere. Some people might argue that smaller size of the Galaxy S9 makes it difficult to do so but then again, the Galaxy S9 is said to be about the same size with the Galaxy S8, which makes it slightly larger than the iPhone X which happens to have a dual camera setup. If Apple can fit two cameras on the iPhone X then surely Samsung can do the same on the Galaxy S9.

3. More RAM
It's kinda sad to see Samsung still sticking to 4GB RAM on the Galaxy S9 especially when most of its competitors are opting for 6GB to 8GB on theirs even budget Chinese OEMS such as OnePlus, Elephone, Maze, etc. Hell even the Samsung A8 (2018) has got 6GB of RAM.
YouTube is full of videos detailing just how much more memory adds to bettering the performance of these modern day computers. While Samsung has always prided itself as offering the best bang for your buck, they need to step up and do the right thing here

4. Better Iris scanner or Facial recognition tech
The Galaxy S8 has got some form of facial recognition but it's just terrible especially when compared to FaceID on the iPhone X or even OnePlus 5T. Samsung needs to either get it right or just leave it out entirely and just use the the In-Display Fingerprint sensor.

5. IR remote blaster
I still haven't wrapped my head why Samsung and other OEMs decided to get rid of the IR remote blaster. It's a really nifty feature which comes in quite handy for me with my Galaxy Note 3. It's feels great knowing that I don't have to hunt for the remote to quickly turn on/off any appliances. And then IR remote blaster is really inexpensive and takes very little space and with the number of gadgets in homes these days, IR blasters should be pretty much standard in every smartphone.

The arguments against VAR in Football is just ridiculous

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Was going to write a piece about this but let's face it, those people who are against have no logical arguments against VAR.

TLDR: VAR is here, deal with it 

How to get rid of Opera Mini full screen ads

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Lately Opera Mini force feeding their million full screen ads which is a bit ironic considering there adblocking feature. While I'm not against Opera showing ads in order to pay its bills but with the latest update but they've taken it to a higher level of annoying with popups which appear even when you aren't using the app. The screenshot below shows one of those pop-ups while I was using Chrome.

This popups kinda set me off, and I started tinkering with their settings menu to see how I can turn it off and then it hit me. The issues I have with Opera mini only started recently (in the last few months), so if I switched back to an earlier version of the app i might solve this my little problem.

So I went to APKmirror and downloaded an old version (28.xxxxx) of Opera Mini, installed it and viola my troubles were gone. I no longer see any fullscreen ads that break my workflow, although there are interstitial ads that show up infrequently.

Summing it up, if you're tired of the Opera Mini ads, just download an old version and prosper.

Past Google searches proves that Apple has been making its older iPhones slower

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While Apple continues to deny that it hasn't been purposely slowing down older iPhones in order to make people buy newer iPhones, a look at historical Google searches shows otherwise.

A look at a chart compiled by Juan Bagnelli shows that a correlation between searches for the term "iPhone is slow" and the release of a new iPhone. Searches by users who were concerned that their iPhone was getting slower seemed to peak around the time a new iPhone is released.

While Apple might want to explain it away as the result of the improvements in the processors found on newer iPhones but thanks to the recent Batterygate drama, we know that Apple has been making those iPhones slower via software updates.

Apple finally apologizes for making your old iPhone slow, reduces the price of a battery replacement to $29

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Much has been been made about how Apple has been making your old iPhones slower in order to save your battery life. With lawsuits flying left,right and center, Apple is finally coming out to address the issue with what could be considered as a non-apology apology reminiscent of the antennagate "you're holding it wrong" statement.

While they deny intentionally degrading the experience on older iPhones.
First and foremost, we have never — and would never — do anything to intentionally shorten the life of any Apple product, or degrade the user experience to drive customer upgrades. Our goal has always been to create products that our customers love, and making iPhones last as long as possible is an important part of that.

And blames it on the batteries not performing optimally as they age over time.
All rechargeable batteries are consumable components that become less effective as they chemically age and their ability to hold a charge diminishes. Time and the number of times a battery has been charged are not the only factors in this chemical aging process.
Device use also affects the performance of a battery over its lifespan. For example, leaving or charging a battery in a hot environment can cause a battery to age faster. These are characteristics of battery chemistry, common to lithium-ion batteries across the industry.
A chemically aged battery also becomes less capable of delivering peak energy loads, especially in a low state of charge, which may result in a device unexpectedly shutting itself down in some situations.
While this seems like it makes sense to blame the battery but Apple was a bit too smart in how they handled this battery degradation. Letting the devices shut down would probably make the user take their iPhone to the Apple Store to get it checked out which would more likely result in a battery replacement. While slowing it down and while keeping the battery life the same is more than likely result in the user thinking that their device was dated especially when compared to newer devices and is more likely to result in them buying a new iPhone.

A critical look at this makes it seem like the honchos at Apple looked at these scenarios above and realized that $799 new iPhone would help their bottom line a lot more than a $79 battery replacement.

Going forward Apple promises to make it easier for its users to tell if their battery has aged significantly courtesy an update coming in early 2018, and also it has reduced to cost of replacement batteries from $79 to $29 for users with iPhone 6 or newer.

You can check out the rest of the Apple presser below.
A Message to Our Customers about iPhone Batteries and Performance

We’ve been hearing feedback from our customers about the way we handle performance for iPhones with older batteries and how we have communicated that process. We know that some of you feel Apple has let you down. We apologize. There’s been a lot of misunderstanding about this issue, so we would like to clarify and let you know about some changes we’re making.

First and foremost, we have never — and would never — do anything to intentionally shorten the life of any Apple product, or degrade the user experience to drive customer upgrades. Our goal has always been to create products that our customers love, and making iPhones last as long as possible is an important part of that.

How batteries age

All rechargeable batteries are consumable components that become less effective as they chemically age and their ability to hold a charge diminishes. Time and the number of times a battery has been charged are not the only factors in this chemical aging process.

Device use also affects the performance of a battery over its lifespan. For example, leaving or charging a battery in a hot environment can cause a battery to age faster. These are characteristics of battery chemistry, common to lithium-ion batteries across the industry.

A chemically aged battery also becomes less capable of delivering peak energy loads, especially in a low state of charge, which may result in a device unexpectedly shutting itself down in some situations.

To help customers learn more about iPhone’s rechargeable battery and the factors affecting its performance, we’ve posted a new support article, iPhone Battery and Performance.

It should go without saying that we think sudden, unexpected shutdowns are unacceptable. We don’t want any of our users to lose a call, miss taking a picture or have any other part of their iPhone experience interrupted if we can avoid it.

Preventing unexpected shutdowns About a year ago in iOS 10.2.1, we delivered a software update that improves power management during peak workloads to avoid unexpected shutdowns on iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, and iPhone SE. With the update, iOS dynamically manages the maximum performance of some system components when needed to prevent a shutdown. While these changes may go unnoticed, in some cases users may experience longer launch times for apps and other reductions in performance.

Customer response to iOS 10.2.1 was positive, as it successfully reduced the occurrence of unexpected shutdowns. We recently extended the same support for iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus in iOS 11.2.

Of course, when a chemically aged battery is replaced with a new one, iPhone performance returns to normal when operated in standard conditions.

Recent user feedback

Over the course of this fall, we began to receive feedback from some users who were seeing slower performance in certain situations. Based on our experience, we initially thought this was due to a combination of two factors: a normal, temporary performance impact when upgrading the operating system as iPhone installs new software and updates apps, and minor bugs in the initial release which have since been fixed.

We now believe that another contributor to these user experiences is the continued chemical aging of the batteries in older iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s devices, many of which are still running on their original batteries.

Addressing customer concerns

We’ve always wanted our customers to be able to use their iPhones as long as possible. We’re proud that Apple products are known for their durability, and for holding their value longer than our competitors’ devices.

To address our customers’ concerns, to recognize their loyalty and to regain the trust of anyone who may have doubted Apple’s intentions, we’ve decided to take the following steps:

Apple is reducing the price of an out-of-warranty iPhone battery replacement by $50 — from $79 to $29 — for anyone with an iPhone 6 or later whose battery needs to be replaced, starting in late January and available worldwide through December 2018. Details will be provided soon on apple.com.
Early in 2018, we will issue an iOS software update with new features that give users more visibility into the health of their iPhone’s battery, so they can see for themselves if its condition is affecting performance.
As always, our team is working on ways to make the user experience even better, including improving how we manage performance and avoid unexpected shutdowns as batteries age. At Apple, our customers’ trust means everything to us. We will never stop working to earn and maintain it. We are able to do the work we love only because of your faith and support — and we will never forget that or take it for granted.

Apple finally admits it has been making older iPhones slower when a new iPhone comes out

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Apple is an absolute God at getting its ever loyal customer base tripping over themselves in order to get their hands on the latest and greatest iDevice.  Every year when Apple announces that its new iPhone is X times faster than the previous model, it's not always down to the newer processors if the statement by Apple is anything to go by
Our goal is to deliver the best experience for customers, which includes overall performance and prolonging the life of their devices. Lithium-ion batteries become less capable of supplying peak current demands when in cold conditions, have a low battery charge or as they age over time, which can result in the device unexpectedly shutting down to protect its electronic components.

Last year we released a feature for iPhone 6, iPhone 6s and iPhone SE to smooth out the instantaneous peaks only when needed to prevent the device from unexpectedly shutting down during these conditions. We've now extended that feature to iPhone 7 with iOS 11.2, and plan to add support for other products in the future.

According to the statement above, Apple has been intentionally making older devices such as the iPhone 7 slower in order to make the deprecated battery last longer, while this seems like a well intentioned move if we absolutely trust Apple like a 3 year old. However if you really give it some thought, what better way to convince users that their device is inferior to newer devices than making it run slower.

While it's not entirely news that older iPhones tend to get slower after the release of a new iPhone or a new version of iOS, Apple confirming it would go a long way in easing the minds of those who have long suspected that the newer version of iOS installed on older iPhones were buggy slower on purpose.


Hate them or love them, but you've got to hand it to Apple.... This is a really clever way of making people upgrade their two year old iPhones to a newer model.


However Apple is not alone in this planned obsolescence strategy, where as Samsung, Google, HTC, LG and the rest of the Android OEMs stop updating your device in order to nudge you into buying a new device, Apple uses those updates to slow your iPhone down enough that it's unusable enough to convince you to buy another device.


Apple now owns the music recognition app Shazam

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Apparently the rumours of Apple acquiring Shazam are true and today, the lads at Apple have announced their acquisition of Shazam. The details are still sketchy at the moment but the deal is believed to cost Apple something in the region of $300 million. 

Apple's acquisition of the music recognition service kinda makes a lot of sense for Apple and it's Apple Music streaming service. With the acquisition, Apple would make it a lot more easier to steer the 1 billion or so users of Shazam to Apple Music and perhaps help them gain more users across Android and iOS devices.


ICYMI: Cristiano v Neymar, Chelsea v Barca, and the rest of the Champions League second round draws

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The draws for the second round of the UEFA Champions League was held earlier today and there were few surprises with old enemies Chelsea and Barcelona rekindling their old rivalry. Neymar has also been handed a chance to face an old foe or a future employer with PSG drawing Real Madrid. English sensation Harry Kane has been handed another chance to prove his mantle as a top player with Spurs facing Juventus in Turin in the first leg.

The other English teams (Man City, Man Utd, Liverpool) and Bayern Munich have been handed an easier route to the quarterfinals.

Juventus 🇮🇹 v Tottenham 🇬🇧
FC Basel 🇧🇪 v Man City 🇬🇧
FC Porto 🇵🇹 vs Liverpool 🇬🇧
Sevilla FC 🇪🇸 v Man Utd 🇬🇧
Real Madrid 🇪🇸 v PSG 🇫🇷
Shakhtar Donetsk 🇺🇦 v Roma 🇮🇹
Chelsea 🇬🇧 v FC Barcelona 🇪🇸
Bayern Munich 🇩🇪 v Besiktas 🇹🇷

I fancy Barça, Man City, Liverpool, Man Utd, Real Madrid, Shaktnar Donestk and Juve progressing to the quarterfinals, who do you fancy?

ICYMI: Here are the Europa League second round draws

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With the Champions league second draws out of the way, the Europa league second round draws was next to follow. The second round draws sees the top sides kept well away from each other at this stage. With Arsenal, Atletico Madrid kept well away from each other. Dortmund would be facing Atalanta in what could an upset considering the form in which Dortmund is in Europe while Napoli locks horns with Leipzig after both teams dropped from the Champions League. Celtic the only other British team in the Europa league have been drawn with Zenit in what could be a tricky affair for the Scottish team as they have the long trip to make to Russia.

The rest of the Europa league second draws are as follows:


Dortmund 🇩🇪 v Atalanta🇮🇹
Copenhagen🇩🇰 v Atletico Madrid🇪🇸
AEK Athens🇬🇷 v Dynamo Kiev🇺🇦
Napoli🇮🇹 v RB Leipzig🇩🇪
Lyon🇫🇷 v Villarreal🇪🇸
Partizan🇷🇸 v Viktoria Plzen 🇨🇿
Ludogorets🇧🇬 v AC Milan🇮🇹
Ostersunds🇸🇪 v Arsenal🇬🇧
Nice🇫🇷v Lokomotiv Moscow 🇷🇺
Spartak Moscow🇷🇺 v Athletic Bilbao🇪🇸
Celtic🇬🇧 v Zenit St. Petersburg🇷🇺
Red Star Belgrade🇷🇸 v CSKA Moscow🇷🇺
Real Sociedad🇪🇸 v R.B Salzburg 🇦🇹
Steaua Bucharest🇷🇴 v Lazio🇮🇹
Astana🇰🇿 v Sporting 🇵🇹
Marseille🇫🇷 v Braga🇵🇹

ICYMI: Nigeria draws Argentina for the 5th time, Spain gets Portugal plus other World Cup draws

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It all but seems that our dear country is somehow attached to Argentina by some sort of umbilical cord having drawn Argentina in their World Cup group for the 5th time out of the 6 times that she has qualified for the FIFA World Cup and for the third consecutive time.

Nigeria and Argentina have been drawn in Group D along with Croatia and the small island nation of Iceland. The draws would see Iberian neighbours Spain and Portugal duke it out for supremacy in Group B, while hosts Russia would square off with Saudi Arabia in the opening game of the tournament. To see who gets who check out the groups below.


GROUP A GROUP B
Russia 🇷🇺
Uruguay 🇺🇾
Egypt 🇪🇬
‎Saudi Arabia 🇸🇦
Portugal 🇵🇹
Spain 🇪🇸
Iran 🇮🇷
Morocco 🇲🇦

GROUP C GROUP D
France 🇫🇷
Peru 🇵🇪
Denmark 🇩🇰
Australia 🇦🇺 
Argentina 🇦🇷
Croatia 🇭🇷
Iceland 🇮🇸
Nigeria 🇳🇬

GROUP E GROUP F
Brazil 🇧🇷
Switzerland 🇨🇭
Costa Rica 🇨🇷
Serbia
Germany 🇩🇪
México 🇲🇽
Sweden 🇸🇪
South Korea 🇰🇷

GROUP G GROUP H
Belgium 🇧🇪
England 🇬🇧
Tunisia 🇹🇳
Panama 🇵🇦 
Poland 🇵🇱
Colombia 🇨🇴
Senegal 🇸🇳
Japan 🇯🇵