My Dear Melancholy, : Back to form?

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The last 4 or 5 years has been awesome for Abel Tesfaye, the Canadian born artist has gone from a B list artist trying real hard to put his music out there, gifting freebies to the likes of Drake, Lil Wayne, Juicy J, Rick Ross and French Montana to a certified global Superstar. In this time his sound has transitioned from the drug fueled sex filled downright sombre to the positively upbeat Starboy. 

Recently Abel has somewhat returned to his old self, gone is the ultra confident and downright braggadocious Starboy persona. This version of The Weeknd is done with reminding me about how his main chick and his side chick are both out of my league or how much his car costs. He's back to his best and doing what drew me to him.. half-bragging, half-complaining about being lucky with fairer sex.

Whatever phase The Weeknd is going through right now, i can't say I do not love the knock on effect on his music. All I need is for him to put out a full length LP which sounds something like The House of Balloons straddled by The Beauty Behind the Maddness.

Here's 6 things we know about J. Cole's new album

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Yes, you read that right.. The artist you and I have come to love and adore  or not is all about set to drop another full length album on the Hip-Hop world. Well according to DJ Booth, there has already been an album listening party for the unnamed album and there are suggestions that's it's actually good or whatever that means.

Well in the run up to the album release, I decided to write a post of what to expect in order to help me to cope with the inevitable. The album will be dropping on Friday which is about 3 days from now. 

KOD
The title of the album is supposedly called KOD which could mean anything from "Kids on Drugs" to "King Overdosed" to "Killing Our Demons". We don't really know what it means or what goes on in Jermaine's head.

No Features
This is starting to look like a J. Cole signature move and also his achilles heel. While his contemporaries such as Kendrick and Drake have used these features to improve their body of work. Mr Jermaine has chosen the "go it alone" route and the effect has been telling on his last two LPs. 

10-12 Tracks
The album is said to have about 10 to 12 tracks which is just about right in my books. At 12 tracks its long enough to be considered a full length album but short enough for one to soldier through.

Hard AF
Early reports from J. Cole's album listening party in New York claim that KOD is probably going to be Jermaine's "Hardest" album so far which is a welcome change from his last "bore you to death" album, For Your Eyez Only. 

Platinum 
As with his last two albums, KOD is definitely going to be a platinum album. And in this age of streaming, going Platinum is increasing becoming less difficult to do, all you really need is a loyal fan base of 10,000 of so and you can game the system. And we all know that the cult of Simba currently doesn't have a shortage of those. 

The Suckiness
It's really hard not to look at the news surrounding this impending album release and what's happened in the past and not think this album is going to suck or at least be suck adjacent. With no features and/or no big name producer's, it's not hard to see how this album isn't going to fall into a pattern of monotony. It's not uncommon in the Hip-Hop world to hear of artist who had to rewrite their verses after listening to a guest artiste spazz or hearing a chorus totally flip a song. With features, there's really no challenge in the album making process. There's a limit to the effectiveness of self-motivation when it comes to the whole artistic process.

All that being said i do really hope that KOD is good like really really good, like TPAB good. I really can't handle yet another subpar J. Cole album.

Remember Thuraya? They've made a smartphone with your name on it if you're an Arab Prince

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Thuraya Telecommunications Company has just announced what's the first satellite smartphone, the Thuraya X5-Touch today at its partner conference in Dubai. And like previous Thuraya Satellite phones, its aimed at people who frequently find themselves in places where regular GSM coverage is absent.

While Thuraya didn't give us much details about the specs of this device, it does however have a 5.2" 1080p display, dual Sim support which enables seamlessly switching from GSM to Satellite service. It also packs both front and rear cameras in addition to WiFi, Bluetooth and NFC. While the specifications won't be blowing anyone's socks off, however that wouldn't bother Thuraya customers.

Thoughts on Cardi B's Invasion of Privacy album

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"Pleasantly Surprising", that's how I'd describe Cardi B's debut album Invasion of Privacy, if I'm asked. I went into my first listening expecting the album to totally suck arse (pardon my French) but I didn't it was actually good. Like really really good. 

One thing that struck me was how well the album was arranged and that's something people in the music business have long neglected. And the arrangement made "Invasion of Privacy" a worthy skip-free listen. The arrangement paired songs in a way that every weak song like Bartier Cardi is offset 😁 by a dope song like  "Thru your phone". And this helps Cardi B deliver a really strong debut album. 

The album delivers right off the bat with Get Up, which sounds like a mission statement by Cardi B. The song is followed by the Migos assisted Drip, while it might not be the album's strongest suit but it does make for easy listening. The pattern repeats itself through the album with standout tracks like Be Careful, Best Life featuring Chance The Rapper, Bodak Yellow, Thru Your Phone, I do featuring SZA balancing out the weaker songs on the album. 

Overall Invasion of Privacy makes for a worthy debut album. It's one of those albums you could hit play on and not skip any track. If i were rate the album I'd give it a solid 4 👍 out of 5.


Songs to check out
Bodak Yellow
Thru your phone
Best life
I do
Get Up
Be Careful
Drip

Facebook has been collecting your SMS and Call records for years

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It would appear that Facebook has been collecting your call records and SMS for years more especially so if you're an Android user. A number of users have been reported finding years and years of their call history records  on Facebook. 

The data collected by Facebook detailed the numbers or contacts you've been speaking to and how long you speak to them. In addition to that, they've also got every SMS you've sent.



And all this made possible by having any one of their apps installed on your phone. Using either their Facebook app, Facebook Lite, Messenger and Messenger Lite allows Facebook to siphon off your data by requesting for access to your contacts. And the same could also be said of WhatsApp which allows requests for similar permissions and has been known to share the data it collects with Facebook.

If you'd like to see what kind of information Facebook has on you, you can follow the screenshot below and download the zipped archive to check it out. Facebook also offers you an option to delete the data.



This massive data collection seems to only occur on Android smartphones running older versions of Android particularly Android JellyBean. iPhone users are totally immune to this because of the way iOS handles it's permissions.





Images: Arstechnica

This little box can unlock any iPhone

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iOS the operating system that powers the iPhone, iPad and other iDevices has been regarded as probably the most secure operating system owing to the San Bernadinho case involving the FBI and Apple over access to the shooter's iPhone. At the time, Apple refused to honour the FBI's request to provide a backdoor to their OS. Fast forward to the present, and it seems that the iPhone and iOS isn't as impenetrable as Apple would've you believe with the number of "security firms" that have set up shop offering $5000 per device unlocking services to law enforcement services like the FBI and Police Departments.

According to Malwarebytes, there's a device been sold to law enforcement that can bypass whatever security method on just about any iPhone irregardless of the version of iOS that it's running. The device called GrayKey is made by a small Atlanta based company called GrayShift. GrayShift is said to be selling two versions of the GrayKey device with the cheaper one costing $15,000 and requires an Internet connection to work and $30,000 for the offline version.


The iPhone needs to be connected to the GrayKey device for about 2 minutes to initiate the unlocking process, after which they can be disconnected. The actual unlocking process could take anywhere from 2 hours to 4 days (for longer passwords of 6 digits or more).

After unlocking the content of the iPhone can be downloaded to the GrayKey device where it can be read off a connected computer using a Web-based interface.





Image Credit: Malwarebytes

You can now delete messages on WhatsApp 1 hour after sending it

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Great news folks, WhatsApp is extending its message deletion window to an hour and 8 minutes from just 7 minutes. Which means you have an hour to delete those 116 messages you sent to your ex begging her to take you back or that bathroom selfie you accidentally sent to your classmates.

Now if they could just do away with the " "This message was deleted" bubble, i can deny ever sending any message without batting an eye.

Honda's Urban EV, Telsa competitor looks really sweet

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Honda is fixin to turn heads turning in the nascent EV subsector with its latest concept car, the Urban EV. With the Urban EV, Honda is going with a 70s inspired retro styling with both design of the exterior and interior. 


The design of the Urban EV looks a lot like the love child of the old VW Golf and the Mini. The Urban EV looks really cool especially when compared with other EV cars such as the Nissan Leaf and the Chevrolet Bolt.

Image Credits: The Verge

The IPhone X and the attack of the Copycats

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Good artist copy, Great artists steals 

This quote is ascribed to the late great artist, Pablo Picasso and was made famous by Tech Visionary, the late Steve Jobs. The above quote seemed to come to life at the recent MWC, where small and not so small Android OEMs seemed to trip over one another to show off their shameless copy of iPhone X and its notch.

While this is something that one could expect from the small players such as Elephone, Leagoo, Ulefone, and Doogee who have built their brand around making clones of popular phones such as the Galaxy S7, Galaxy S8 and Xiaomi Mix; it's mind boogling that the likes of LG, Asus, Hauwei and Oppo could be up to the same tricks. 
Only time can tell just how well this strategy will bode for the likes of LG, Asus, Hauwei and Oppo. But for what it is worth, they've all awaken to the knowledge of whom their true competitor is.

The Black Panther was basically a bad comic book remake of the Lion King

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I tried to stay away... I really did but my resolve to  not see the Black Panther movie was broken within 3 weeks of the movie premiere. I thought the hype around the movie was unjustified and based on purely emotional bias considering the movie was basically a remake of The Lion King in reverse with Superheroes and decent CGI.

Doesn't this remind you of anything


Watching the movie it seemed my fears were justified, it was one of those movies were the true superhero was whoever pieced together the trailers. Hey bro but everyone thinks the movie rocked their socks off. It really didn't, i mean look at it basically it was two guys fighting over who'd be king. I've said this before and I'd say it again, "Marvel has perfected the recipe on making comic book movies" and this readily translates to strong box office showings. Then again hype and box office success doesn't necessarily translate to a quality movie (The Transformers and Pirates of the Caribbeans comes to mind). Its success at the worldwide box office meant that a lot of black people felt an connection with it and the idea of finally having a big budget Hollywood movie and got behind it, it's a Marvel comic book movie it would always do well plus either White people wanted to give us a win (just like when Obama won the presidency) and finally Marvel realised that they had been sitting on a goldmine 💰 💰 💰 💰💰 .

Besides the thin plot, the movie didn't have the humour that Marvel movies has become known for. Coming off the brilliant Thor: Ragnarok, i assumed that Marvel would've learnt a thing or two about the role of humour as a filler in comic book movies. While Thor 3 had a similar razor thin plot, the humour was a great filler.  And there's also the issue of the soundtrack which it left out almost in its entirety. Watching the movie I felt there were scenes that could have been helped by the inclusion of certain songs in some scenes.

Pros
Black people finally got theirs


Cons
Marvel's patented ultra razor thin plotline
Fight scenes left a lot to be desired
Poor poor use of their soundtrack (shame)


GRADE: C- (Other than the black representation, this movie was basically bland)

Galaxy S8 vs Galaxy S9 comparison: here's what's changed and what's better

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Samsung just unveiled the new Galaxy S9 and S9+ and boy does it cost a pretty penny. With latest devices, Samsung is taking a page out of Apple's playbook and is pricing the Galaxy S9 and S9+ a bit higher than the Galaxy S8 or S8+ was at launch.
If you already own a Galaxy S8 and was wondering how much better the Galaxy S9 is, we've got your back. We've compiled a table which highlights the areas where the Galaxy S9 and S9+ is better than the Galaxy S8 and S8+.
Galaxy S8 (S8+)Galaxy S9 (S9+)

Dimension
Galaxy S8
148.9mm x 68.1mm x 8.0mm
155g

Galaxy S8+
159.5mm x 73.4mm x 8.1mm
173g
Galaxy S9
147.7mm x 68.7 x 8.5mm
163g

Galaxy S9+
158.1mm x 73.8mm x 8.5mm
189g

Display
Galaxy S8
Infinity Display
5.8" Curved Super AMOLED
Quad HD+ (2960 x 1440)
18.5:9
570ppi

Galaxy S8+
Infinity Display
6.2" Curved Super AMOLED
Quad HD+ (2960 x 1440)
18.5:9
529ppi
Galaxy S9
Infinity Display
5.8" Curved Super AMOLED
Quad HD+ (2960 x 1440)
18.5:9
570ppi

Galaxy S9+
Infinity Display
6.2" Curved Super AMOLED
Quad HD+ (2960 x 1440)
18.5:9
529ppi

Camera
Rear Camera
Dual Pixel 12MP (f1.7)  with Phase Detection AutoFocus & Optical Image Stabilisation

Front Camera
8MP (F1.7) with Phase Detection AutoFocus
Galaxy S9
Rear Camera
Super Speed Dual Pixel 12MP variable aperture (f1.5/f2.4)  with Phase Detection AutoFocus & Optical Image Stabilisation

Front Camera
8MP (F1.7) with Phase Detection AutoFocus

Galaxy S9+
Rear Camera
Wide angle Super Speed Dual Pixel 12MP variable aperture (f1.5/f2.4)  with Phase Detection AutoFocus & Optical Image Stabilisation
               &
12MP variable aperture (f2.4)  with Phase Detection AutoFocus & Optical Image Stabilisation

Front Camera
8MP (F1.7) with Phase Detection AutoFocus

Processor
Qualcomm Snapdragon 835  octa-core processor (4x 2.35GHz Kyro 385  + 4x 1.9GHz Kyro)  with Adreno 540 GPU

or

Samsung Exynos 8895 octa-core processor (4x 2.3GHz Mongoose M2  + 4x1.7 GHz Cortex A-53) with Mali-G71 MP20
Qualcomm Snapdragon 845  octa-core processor (4x2.7GHz Kyro 385 Gold  + 4x1.7GHz Kyro 385 Silver)  with Adreno 630 GPU

or

Samsung Exynos 9810 octa-core processor (4x 2.8GHz Mongoose M3  + 4x 1.7 GHz Cortex A-55) with Mali-G72 MP18

Memory
4GB RAM
64GB Internal memory
MicroSD (up to 256GB)
Galaxy S9
4GB RAM
64GB/126GB/256GB Internal memory
MicroSD (up to 400GB)
Galaxy S9+
6GB RAM
64GB/126GB/256GB Internal memory
MicroSD (up to 400GB)

Biometrics Authentication
Iris, Fingerprint, FaceIris, Fingerprint, Face, Inteliigient scan

Audio
Single SpeakerStereo speakers tuned by AKG,
Dolby Atmos Surround sound

Battery
Galaxy S8
3,000mAh

Glaxy S8+
3,500mAh
Galaxy S9
3,000mAh

Galaxy S9+
3,500mAh

While the Galaxy S9 trumps the Galaxy S8 with the variable aperture (and the dual cameras in the Galaxy S9+), location of the fingerprint scanner, stereo speakers, and newer processor as it should. The Galaxy S8 is still a very capable device even after a year and with the price expected to drop even further to midrange territory making it great value for money.

Vivo shows the big boys how to make a Bezel-less Phone with the Vivo Apex

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This year's Mobile World Congress (MWC) is shaping up to the best in recent years with almost all the major players in the smartphone market showing up to the party.  While Samsung and Nokia have managed to be the talking point over the last few days, another player Vivo is set to make every techies head spin with their newest concept phone.

The Vivo Apex is takes the bezel-less form factor to another level. While it is not totally devoid of bezels, it manages to keep it to the barest minimum with a groundbreaking 98% screen to body ratio with its biggest bezels just measuring 4.3mm. The minimalism has come at a price, the earpiece has been replaced with a in glass bone conduction and front facing camera has been placed in the top corner of the chassis and pops up when needed.

The Vivo Apex also carries on with the in glass fingerprint sensor we saw in the Vivo X20 Plus UD, although now the scan area is now the entire bottom portion of the display. 

Nokia doubles down on the nostalgia with the new Nokia 8110 4G Matrix phone

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The Mobile World Congress (MWC) just got underway at Barcelona and Nokia was one of the few companies besides Samsung and Hauwei to show off their latest offering. While Nokia had quite a few devices and a big Android announcement what stole the show was the Nokia 8110 4G. Like the 3310 announced last year, the 8110 4G was Nokia and HMD betting big on nostalgia to win on the nostalgia to get people talking about Nokia smartphones (and it works).
The New Guard and The Old Guard


The Nokia 8110 4G brings back the gratifying old feeling of sliding up and down the cover to end and answer calls. The rather weird looking "banana" phone was once featured in the classic action movie the Matrix and back in the days, everyone including yours truly wanted that phone.

The Nokia 8110 4G  has got a 2.45 inch 240 x 320 pixels display, a dual-core Snapdragon 205 processor with 512MB RAM, 4GB memory, 2MP camera with flash, Bluetooth 4.1, A-GPS, FM radio, dual nanoSIM support and is powered by a 1500mAh battery. The rebirthed Nokia 8110 4G casts aside the old S30 software for a forked version of Mozilla defunct Firefox OS called KaiOS. The KaiOS helps the 8110 4G keep up with the present with the addition of a web browser, Google Maps, Google Assistant and Google Search. It also supports contact and calendar sync with Google servers  which is something that has kept me away from feature phones. Heck, you can also check your Facebook and Twitter on this phone.

The Nokia is expected to retail for about €80 and would come in either discrete black or the ridiculously ostentatious banana yellow. 

This is The Galaxy S9 & Galaxy S9+: Official Price and Specifications

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After weeks and weeks of every detail of the Galaxy S9 and S9+ leaking on the interwebs, Samsung has finally unveiled the primo Android flagships devices at their Unpacked event in Barcelona today. The Galaxy S9 and S9+ follows Samsung's quiet iteration since the Galaxy S6.

With the Galaxy S9, Samsung has made the camera its focus supping it with a low-light optimised variable aperture (f/1.5-f/1.9) which is quite rare in the smartphone world at the moment. The camera also packs a super slow motion mode capable of  capturing a groundbreaking 960fps slow motion video. It also packs a stereo speaker setup which is a first in the samsung world. Another feature that the camera is capable of is animated emojis or AR Emoji which is a cross between Snapchat's Bitmoji and Apple's Animoji. 



Specs wise, the Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+ would pack a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor in the US or a Samsung made Exynos 9810 everywhere else.  In addition it has a 4GB or 6GB RAM configuration depending on if you're going with the Galaxy S9 or S9+. There's the Samsung ever present IP68 water resistance, 3000mAh/3500mAh battery with wireless charging, a headphone jack. The Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+ comes with Android Oreo with Project Treble support. 


The Samsung Galaxy S9 is expected to come in Titanium Gray, Midnight Black, Lilac Purple, and Coral Blue and would be priced at $720/£739/€849 for the unlocked Galaxy S9 and $820/£869/€949 for the unlocked Galaxy S9+. 


Galaxy S9Galaxy S9+
Display
5.8 inch Quad HD+ Curved Super AMOLED
1440 x 2960 pixels 18.5:9 (570ppi)
6.2 inch Quad HD+ Curved Super AMOLED
1440 x 2960 pixels 18.5:9 (528ppi)
Body
147.7mm x 68.7mm x 8..5mm, 163g, IP68
Aluminium frame with front and back Corning Gorilla Glass
158.1mm x 73.8mm x 8.5mm, 189g, IP68
Aluminium frame with front and back Corning Gorilla Glass
Camera
Rear: 12MP  Dual Pixel sensor with OIS & AutoFocus (F1.5/F2.4)
Rear: 12MP Wide Angle Dual Pixel sensor with OIS & AutoFocus (F1.5/F2.4)
12 MP Telephoto sensor (F2.4) with AutoFocus
Front: 8MP sensor (F1.7) with AutoFoucus Front: 8MP sensor (F1.7) with AutoFoucus
Processor
Qualcomm Snapdragon 845  octa-core processor (4x2.7GHz Kyro 385 Gold  + 4x1.7GHz Kyro 385 Silver)  with Adreno 630 GPU

Samsung Exynos 9810 octa-core processor (4x2.8GHz Mongoose M3  + 4x1.7 GHz Cortex A-55) with Mali-G72 MP18
Memory
4GB RAM
64GB/128GB/256GB
MicroSD slot (up to 400GB)
6GB RAM
64GB/128GB/256GB
MicroSD slot (up to 400GB)
Connectivity
SIM: Single Nano SIM or Dual Hybrid SIM (Nano SIM + Nano SIM or MicroSD slot)
Network:  GSM 850/900/1800/1900
3G: HSPDA 850/900//1700/1900/2100
4G: LTE

Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (2.4/5GHz), VHT80 MU-MIMO, 1024QAM, Bluetooth 5.0 (LE up to 2Mbps), ANT+, USB Type C, NFC, MST, GPS, Galileo, Glonass, BeiDou, FM Radio (US & China), 
Sensor
Iris sensor, Pressure Sensor, Accelerometer, Barometer, Fingerprint Sensor, Gyro Sensor, Geomagnetic  sensor,Hall sensor, HR sensor, Proximity sensor, RGB light sensor
Battery
3000mAh battery with fast and wireless charging3500mAh battery with fast and wireless charging

Samsung resurrects Opera Max as the Samsung Max

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A bit of a while ago, the nice blokes at Opera announced that they were going to be shutting down their Opera Max data saving and VPN app mostly because they couldn't figure out how to make any money off it (Who would've thought it would be hard making money off people who are trying to save money). However fortunately for us penny pinchers, Uncle Samsung has swooped in and saved the app but in doing so have rechristened the app Samsung Max (Which is a rather clever name for such an app).


For the most part the app works and looks exactly the same as the previous app minus a new coat of colours (Eh, the Emperor's got new clothes). It's got the same features such as data saving and the privacy mode, they've retained the Premium "ads on yer lockscreen" and also the ads in the app well as you know Samsung needs to make a bit of money considering Apple is making all the money from the sales of smartphones. However Samsung did something I very much liked and that's getting rid of the pesky timer which annoyed me to bits (Thanks Sammy, you alright mate).
If you wanna give it a go, you can download the app from either the Google Play Store or sideload it from APKMIRROR