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MXit v5.8 Out Soon

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After false intel over the past week, I'm confident to tell you that the new version of South Africa's favorite mobile IM application, MXit, will release its next version sometime very soon - probably even by tomorrow!

The new version will come in 2 flavours - Elite and Pro. If you want to experience the full goodness of the new MXit, you should download the Elite flavour. For more info on all this, check it out the official MXit forum: forum.mxit.co.za

To get the new version, check out www.mxit.com/wap from your mobile.

I will try to review the Elite flavour when I get it.

Posted by ShoZu

Why I’m Unhappy with Firefox

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firefox_logo For well over two years now, I’ve been a devout Firefox user. I was even considering removing Internet Explorer from my system, and living only in Firefox, but decided against it as I do a bit of web and desktop software development, and as any good programmer knows, you need to be compliant! ;)

Alright, on the outset, let’s get one thing straight: I enjoy Firefox; it’s got a very good looking interface, and it usually works.

However, I’ve been experiencing some problems with it lately, like the fact that it drops connection and gives up on loading a web page quite frequently.

So I decided to try out the Opera browser. It’s a free download from www.opera.com. I use the mobile app, Opera Mini, and so I thought, “hey, why not try this out?”

Turns out that Opera has been very well written, and that it hardly drops connection – like what Firefox does quite a lot of the time.

Another glitch that I’m not too fond of in Firefox is its memory leak – the application is heavily memory intensive, and can make working on other tasks on the computer a bit of a pain. I really hope that Mozilla fix this in a future release of Firefox.

So, will I move from Firefox to Opera? No. Because I’m simply too used to Firefox, and I love the fact that you can really customize it. But if Mozilla doesn’t give these issues any attention, then I’ll have no choice but to make the jump.

Technology Doesn’t Stop In These Trying Times

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Even though the entire world is bleak due to the economic crisis, it seems like technology only goes in one direction – forward.

Technology seems to be one of the only things driving us out of these trying times, surging ahead in delivering some really cool products.

Take Nokia’s sleek N97, a digital powerhouse that is touted as the Nseries’ flagship. Or the fact that U.S. President-elect Barrack Obama made history and won a campaign in a way never done before.

In fact, let’s delve further with that: Obama won the election by having a strong digital presence, something that has been long over-looked by many other campaigns the world over. He made sure he had an active presence on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter. This ensured many of his votes from the tech-savvy younger generation.

And this goes to show the power that technology has over us; the fact that it can take us out of our current bleak economic state.

By focusing on what technology has to offer us, we are able to see things in a new light; using the power of the Web, we are now able to easily connect with each other, share ideas, collaborate, and find solutions quicker.

Technology and the Web also offers us more opportunities to exercise our talents, and put them to good use.

And at the same time, it allows us to have fun,  to enjoy our lives, and to make us aware that our lives are meant to be lived and to be enjoyed; not to worry constantly over.

What's All This iPhone Nano Hype?

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Not even a year after the iPhone 3G was released, and already the Internet is full of hype about the speculated, smaller iPhone Nano.

Apparently, this mobile will be priced lower than the current iPhone, and I suspect that, just like how the iPod Nano "stole the show" from the Classic, because it was priced lower and its form factor was more appealing, so will this rumoured iPhone Nano do the same.

However, I feel that, for it to really do well, Apple will have to introduce the following:

- Bluetooth file sharing
- Java application support
- Front camera for video call
- Higher quality camera
- Zoom and video support for the camera

Even though this Nano phone may not be introduced, I have a feeling we'll be in for a real surprise concerning the iPhone at MacWorld 2009.

Posted by ShoZu

Seems Like There’s No New MXit…

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Oops, seems like I’ve got it wrong in my previous posts! Apologies!

After visiting the MXit wap site (www.mxit.com/wap) on my mobile to check if there’s a new version available (as was mentioned in the last two posts) I see that nothing has changed… I’ve also logged in to my MXit account, and still nothing…

So, this can only mean one thing: there’s not going to be any new version of MXit released today… sadly.

However, you never know… maybe tomorrow MXit Lifestyle will release the new version, or even sometime later this week…

In the meantime, if you haven’t downloaded MXit as yet, why not do so? Visit www.mxit.com/wap from your mobile phone, and to learn more about the chat program, visit the official website: www.mxit.com

New MXit: No Further News

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After my previous post, I’ve taken a visit to the MXit forum (from my mobile using Opera Mini) to see if they mention anything about the new version expected to release tomorrow.

Well, unfortunately, nothing has been said about it. This could be because I visited it using Opera Mini, and it may have rendered the page incorrectly, but it seems like MXit Lifestyle is keeping very quiet about it…

Well, all I can say at this point in time is, make sure your phone has the correct GPRS/Internet settings, and it’s working perfect, because you sure don’t want to miss this latest version of MXit!

New MXit Version Tomorrow

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South Africa's (and fast becoming the world's) popular instant messaging application for mobile phones, MXit (pronounced "mix-it" will be releasing a new version tomorrow.

From what I've heard (from some reliable sources), this new version will include some cool additions to an already feature packed app. However, I am uncertain as to what the version number for this new release will be (I suspect it to be v6.0 though...) Anyhow, here's what's expected in the new version:

- Ability to use your own photos as skins

- Setting of status's (seems to be similar to how Facebook's status updates works)

- There will also most likely be some bug fixes, and probably cosmetic changes to the overall user interface.

This new version will be out tomorrow (22nd December)

Posted by ShoZu

Apple Shares Plunge pre-MacWorld

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CEO Steve Jobs not presenting his keynote speech, and news that Apple won’t be exhibiting at the MacWorld expo – or any other “traditional” trade show thereafter – seems to have sunk Apple’s share prices. The company’s earnings are also down 1% compared to last year this time, in what appears to be a growing trend over the years during this season. Analysts attribute this to the premium consumers must pay for an Apple product, but I think this strange in recent times since Apple now has a more diverse range of products  - meaning a greater chance at a larger profit intake.

The company should be riding on a wave of success, after the launch of their new revolutionary notebooks, and funky iPods. However, it seems that the MacWorld debacle is casting a dark cloud over the Cupertino computer maker.

Apple is said to have dropped nearly 7% in the wake of this news. Does this mean that they may be pressured into returning to “traditional” trade shows after MacWorld ‘09?

I don’t think so.

They said it themselves, and we can also see it ourselves; the company has other more powerful means of keeping connected with its customers: it has a powerful, user-friendly website that is frequently updated, it has the iTunes Store, and it as a legion of devout fans that blog every hour, on the hour, about the company. And they also have their own “special events”, like the recent notebook and iPod ones.

I think Apple just wants to have more control over the way in which they deliver new products, and this is why they made their decision.

World’s First 512GB SSD

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SSDs (solid-state-drives) are fast becoming a popular alternative to regular hard-disk drives (HDDs), because they contain no movable parts – this reduces the risk of them breaking in the event of a fall, for example.

The MacBook Air introduced SSDs to the mainstream market in early 2008, but now the latest news that is sending shockwaves in the industry is Toshiba’s – the manufacturer of hard drives and components for many venders – announcement of a 512GB 2.5” solid-state drive.

2.5 inches means that it may not make it to notebook computers just yet – but it’s still a major breakthrough in terms of technological advancement.

Although I’d hate to see the price tag… ;)

Google Services You Should Be Using

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Today I’ve decided to list a few Google products that I use quite often, or have found to be great, that I think you should use as well.

Google has evolved into a diverse range of products, and offer a lot more than just search – you can now manage your calendar, photos, email, and more – from anywhere in the world!

These products are aimed at making your life (and specifically, your online life) much easier to manage. So without further ado, here they are:

  • Gmail: Probably THE BEST web-based email service around, Gmail has made managing my email so much easier. And with practically unlimited storage, it is far superior to its competitors. It also has a nice user interface that is clean and easy to navigate around. You should definitely give Gmail a try (if you don’t use it already). www.gmail.com

 

  • Google Picasa: I don’t really use the Windows application, but the online Picasa Webs is a neat site that allows you to manage photo albums. In fact, most of the pictures on Byte Lounge are managed using Google Picasa Webs. You should also give the Windows program a try, it’s pretty cool. www.picasa.com

 

  • Google Chrome: Although not as refined as the other browsers out there today, Chrome is fast becoming a recognized, fast and clean web browser. And it’s developed by the gods of the Internet. Need I say any more? Google Chrome is available for Windows only at the moment, but plans to develop the web browser for other platforms are currently underway. www.google.com/chrome

 

  • Google Docs: I don’t use this that much, but Docs is very feature-packed and a nice way to create, view and edit Microsoft Office Word, Excel, and now PowerPoint, from anywhere in the world. Check it out at www.google.com/docs

 

  • Google Reader: I used to use this, until I discovered FeedDemon by NewsGator. But Reader is a great online RSS reader that has powerful features to keep you up-to-date on your favorite blogs. www.google.com/reader

If you haven’t already done so, check out the cool products listed above – they’re very intuitive and can really help you to keep your online life organized. What’s even better, is that they all operate under one Google Account, so you don’t have to sign up separately for each product – you just need your one Google Account to access them.

Check out more Google products by visiting www.google.com, and clicking on the link “More” at the top.

Enjoy!

Nokia's Tube Not Competing with iPhone

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Nokia's first touch-enabled phone, the 5800 Xpress Music "Tube", will not be competing with the iPhone or iPhone 3G. This is because the Tube will feature a stylus, meaning that it won't have a multitouch interface like that on the iPhone.

However, the Tube is still a much anticipated entry into the crowded mobile market, as it will be the first to feature the S60 5th edition operating system. This new OS is set to feature many new user interface improvements over older Symbian software, including the addition of a touch-controlled interface.

In my opinion, the Tube is actually set to compete with the likes of the Samsung Omnia. The Omnia, like other similar smartphones, features touch, but not multitouch, so there's no fancy pinching of the screen to zoom in or out of a photo, for instance.

Although not taking on the iPhone, I feel that the Tube is a very important move on Nokia's part, as the company desperately needs to enter a field that is rapidly growing - touch screen-enabled phones.

I see the Tube as a "flagship" of Nokia's brand, a phone that combines style with soem great features, and knowing Nokia, we can expect the Tube to have a LOT more features than the iPhone.

ShoZu - Mobile Blogging

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You may have noticed my previous post had a little image at the end with the words "Posted by ShoZu". Well, this meant that I had posted that blog entry from my mobile phone - and so can you!

ShoZu is a very cool application that runs on almost all mobiles, that allows you to connect with hundreds of social networks whilst on the go.

You are able to connect with networks such as Facebook, MySpace, Blogger, Photobucket, Flickr and more. As stated on thier official website: ShoZu allows you to "connect your mobile phone with your online life".

With the app, you are able to do some cool things like upload photos and videos to your Facebook profile, check up on (and update) status's, and of course, blog from your mobile.

I see myself using this program a lot when I'm away on holiday next week, so you can be sure that Byte Lounge will still be alive over the months of December and January.

To download ShoZu (it's FREE!), point your mobile browser to: m.shozu.com and follow the simple steps there.

No Jobs at MacWorld

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Seems like there's some major politics going on between the organizers of the MacWorld expo to be held in January '09, and stylish computer maker Apple.

The latest scoop this week is that CEO Steve Jobs won't be delivering his famous keynote anymore. Many Apple fansites are linking this to Apple pulling out of the traditional expo in favour of reaching its customers via its online media and own product events - like the recent notebook and iPod events.

Apple has been speculated to announce new desktop Macs - i.e. the Mac mini, iMac and Mac Pro. They are also rumoured to announce a cheaper and smaller iPhone nano. However, the annual online excitement in the build-up to MacWorld 2009 has been relatively low this year.

Posted by ShoZu

A Very Musical Windows

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You've probably seen this already, but I thought it'd be fun to post again: a famous YouTube video of a guy who created a song using only the sounds from Microsoft Windows XP and 98.

Enjoy!

iPhone: A Phone or a Very Expensive iPod?

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Apple seems to be losing my respect - but not entirely since I admire their sense of style. It's a love-hate relationship, I think.

See, I feel that Apple thinks we live in the stone age. They create a supposedly revolutionary mobile, claim it can't be beaten - and that only the 3G version surpasses the first version. They say that it's, in a nutshell, the ultimate mobile phone. At least, that's the impression I feel I've been given.

But after owning one for myself - and then going back to my more than capable Nokia, I feel that Apple is just a letdown - a company that charges for an overpriced, fancy iPod which has a very basic telephone and pretty interface. Because that's what the iPhone really is: a pretty, incapable telephone that you just happen to be able to carry around in your pocket.

Sure, multitouch is fancy and all that, but after the initial joy, you begin to realize that this phone is a stone-age brick. Yeah, ok, you can jailbreak it. Cool. But that means voiding a warranty for a very expensive iPod.

iPhone has a very powerful ARM processor that can handle some pretty intense stuff - if it were actually allowed to. Apple seems to think that its customers are stupid monkeys that can't or don't know how to use technology. What utter nonsense.

Apple loves to criticise Microsoft about having a stranglehold on its customers. But that is such hypocrisy once you use the iPhone. The pretty boys up at 1 Infinite Loop think that their little iPhone Dev Kit is a godsend - a miracle that is so advance that something as popular as Java cannot be supported on the device. Oh wait - apparently, according to Mr Jobs, Java is dead; nobody uses it anymore. I think that aptly explains why over a million Java apps are available for free on the World Wide Web, why many enterprises use custom-developed Java apps, why hundreds, if not thousands of schools carry out their IT syllabus with Java training.

Here's a quick list of some of what iPhone can't, and what other real phones can do:

  • iPhone can't MMS
  • iPhone has the worst camera for the price you pay: no flash, no zoom, no advanced options
  • iPhone can't record video
  • iPhone can't run more than one application (besides the music player) at the same time (i.e. multi-task)
  • iPhone can't forward SMS messages
  • iPhone can't share videos, images, music and other files via Bluetooth (what a waste of such a great technology... it sickens me!)
  • What a waste of 8GB or 16GB of memory - you can't store other files on the hard drive; it's not access able on the PC (like how the iPod Classic is)
  • iPhone is exceptionally soft
  • The battery life is despicable
  • It eats airtime
  • Only AppStore applications may run on it - no Java apps... this means forking out real money to extend the capabilities of the expensive brick
  • No copy/paste of text - and this phone was supposed to revolutionize the way we keep ourselves organized? Give me a break...

Well, iHope that Apple catches a wake-up call, although I think they're becoming a bit ridiculous by trying to compete with the supreme mobile phone gods like Nokia and Sony Ericsson. They should just stick to making their computers and iPods - at least they know what they're doing there.

In the meantime, I'll just stick with my nearly-2 year old Nokia that is still more advanced than the iPhone.

Windows 7 Set to Rock!

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I've been following the development of the next version of Microsoft Windows very closely. I did the same with the Vista development, and was really excited - until the horror stories emerged shortly after the operating system was released.

But I feel that now is different - I've been looking at some of the new features that Windows 7 has to offer, and it looks very promising.

From what the boys at Microsoft claim, the refined user interface will make it easier to work with. They also say that they want the migration from the current Vista to 7 to be quick and non-complicated, with most current hardware that supports Vista, being able to support 7.

Microsoft also seems to be downplaying the hype over this newer system, which I think is a good move on their part, as Vista created so much hype that the finished product didn't meet up to expectations.

It also appears that Microsoft will be implementing the "Ribbon" interface seen in Office 2007 in most of the system apps in 7 - i.e. WordPad, Paint etc. The system calculator will also get a much needed improvement with added features like a mortgage and loan calculator, amongst other newer features.

It seems like Windows 7 will be a "much better version of Vista" in my opinion. It also looks stunning, and I look forward to getting my hands on it when it releases.

FeedDemon - A Great Way to Stay Connected!

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FeedDemon by NewsGator is, in my opinion, an awesome RSS reader. (RSS readers display your subscribed RSS feeds - which are the latest blog posts from your favorite blogs).

FeedDemon has a very classy user interface, which is exceptionally simple and easy to use, getting you started with keeping on top of your favorite blogs quickly.

Here's a screenshot:

(Click on image to make larger)

What I like about FeedDemon, and more specifically, NewsGator's products, is that you sign up for a free account, and then you can keep in sync with your favorite blogs wherever you are. NewsGator has software for virtually any platform - there's NetNewsWire for the Mac and iPhone, and NewsGator Go! for mobile phones supporting Java (that's practically all new phones).

FeedDemon is an incredibly powerful application that has all the features you'd need to keep up-to-date on your favorite blogs, and, by using FeedDemon's sister product NewsGator Go!, you can keep all your RSS feeds in sync.

The application has a lovely interface, which makes reading feeds all the more enjoyable. I thoroughly enjoy using it, and it has become a part of my frequently-used applications, earning a prominent spot on my Windows desktop.

You can download FeedDemon, learn more about it and other NewsGator products, by visiting the official NewsGator website: www.newsgator.com.

Safebooking - The Byte Lounge Guide to Staying Safe Online

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This is a little guide (which is by no means comprehensive) of tips on how to stay safe online. It deals particularly with key logging, but there are also some tips in there about regular online safety.

Enjoy!
____________________________________________________________________

The Internet is a wonderful world full of exciting possibilities… but it’s also home to some of the most savage, ruthless, cunning, evil and demented criminals. Sure, IM-ing your buddies, Facebooking, or emailing is real fun, but you may be inadvertently opening yourself up to these ruthless pests that are cyber-criminals. In this last section, I’ll give you a few pointers on how to stay safe, whilst still enjoying your time online!

1. Never give out personal details.
I don’t know how many times you’ve probably heard this, but I’ll say it again: giving out personal details, such as your date of birth, phone number, home address, sometimes even your email address, can be extremely dangerous, unless you’re 100% sure you know who you’re talking to.


2. Don’t Reply to Spam.
Spam is a real pest in the Internet world. That’s why it’s important to have a strong spam filter for your email box. I suggest Gmail, a free email service from Google with unlimited storage, and a rock-solid spam filter. In the three years that I’ve used this service, I have rarely encountered any spam. Another thing to note is to never reply to spam: this way, the spammer is able to obtain your personal details, such as email address, and then they’ll have easy access to pestering you with continuous spam.

3. Beware the Key logger!
Key loggers are probably the nastiest thing to come out of the Internet Age. What basically happens is this: a key logger sends surreptitiously sends you a program (called a key stroke capture program) that hides somewhere on your system. So, the next time you log onto the Internet, and enter personal details, such as your banking details to an Internet banking site, this program tracks each key pressed as you type in details such as your password. Then, to further add fuel to the fire, the program quickly takes a snapshot of the current page you’re visiting (such as your Internet banking site), and sends all this information back to the key logger. This may seem really scary, but never fear, for there is a way to combat the evil of key logging: there are many applications out on the web that can prevent key loggers from accessing your PC. Simply initiate a search in Google for “anti-key logging programs”, and choose one that best suits your needs.

CONCLUSION
The Internet is a wonderful world that we can make use of in a way beneficial to our lives. But with it comes the responsibility of making sure you keep safe online. Cyber crime is amongst the most devastating types of crime in the world. Don’t let it ruin your experience of enjoying the wonders of the Internet age.

Our Connected World

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Over the years, I have seen an alarming rate of people getting on to the Internet, especially connecting on social networking sites to speak to far away family and friends. Here in South Africa, it has suddenly risen to a point where the words "Facebook" and "MXit" can be found almost every second day in a daily newspaper.

For me, this is a wonderful thing - it means that, because more people are connecting to these websites, there is a larger number of people online. This puts pressure on Internet service providers to up their game and provide a better service.

But more than just that, it means that us as human beings are becoming closer - I can bear testament to that, as I connect on a regular basis with my family abroad, as well as friends I've made on karate trips to international countries.

The sad thing, though, is that these online networking tools can be, and are, abused. With this great power that is the Internet comes immense responsibility, without which you become a venerable online user.

In my next post, I will provide a few "tips" on how to stay safe online, which I wrote some time ago but never got round to publishing.

Welcome to Byte Lounge!

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Hi! Byte Lounge is a new blog that will publish exciting lifestyle technology news, thoughts, reviews and views. From the latest notebooks to high powered desktops, PlayStation to the Nintendo Wii, iPods, Zune, operating systems, mobiles - you name it, we're bound to write about it!

My name is Rahul Dowlath, and I am the main blogger on this site. From time to time, you may also read posts by guest bloggers. I encourage you to participate in the discussion by dropping a comment at the end of a post. This way, we'll have some interesting things to talk about, and I think it'll be fun!

I will try my best to post as regularly as possible, and you are most welcome to add Byte Lounge to your RSS feeds (I highly reccommend FeedDemon for Windows ;)

Without further ado, I once again welcome you to the blog and hope you enjoy the posts. So come on in, chill out and enjoy the warm ambience at the Byte Lounge!

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