Fring alternative for VOIP calls

NimbuzzSkype is down on Fring and its not a good news. The way things are going, I don’t see it coming back to Fring at all, at least not in a few years to come. What do I do? If you are one of those lucky ones who have a phone that supports the native Skype client, stop reading here 🙂

If you were using Fring because you have no Skype option on your phone model, you have to look around for an alternative now. Nimubzz is the only alternative now that gives free voice Skype to Nimbuzz calls so that you can use your cellphone to make and receive Skype calls. I used Nimbuzz a couple of years ago and it was not impressive at all. When I installed it again today, it has grown up to be a stable application with several other cool features including voice calls to and from skype. The only issue I can see is the lack of video call capability (may be it’s my phone?).

Go ahead and install the app from Nimbuzz.com and don’t you forget to leave a comment below saying thanks if it works out for you 😉

Green Computing Note

User your phone for voice and video chat instead of your computers. Phones take less power hence more environment friendly.

Apple’s press conference – Nokia and RIM unhappy

Apple on Friday released the video of their press conference. Steve Jobs has presented his case and made some good point and then demonstrated how other popular phones also loose signal when held tight in the user’s hand.

RIM and Nokia have objected the way their phones have been mentioned in this session. The press conference video shows three different phones that loose signal when held tight in the user’s hand, one of them was BlackBerry Bold 9700. Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis, founders and co-CEO of RIM have objected by saying that Apple is dragging RIM into their self made debacle.

Jobs also mentioned in the session that you can find pictures all over the internet of Nokia phones saying “Dont touch here”. Nokia has responded to that by saying that Nokia has spent thousands of man hours researching the way people hold their phones and they have been pioneer in making internal antenna featuring phones.

In addition to leg pulling and dragging, there were some concrete announcements in the press conference as well. Apple has announced free bumper cases to solve the antenna problem so that nobody gets to touch the metal border on iPhone 4. Moreover, Apple has also waived the return fees for unsatisfied iPhone 4 customers. These two measures are good enough, why on earth they had to be drag other phones into the scene? They’ve sold all of their phones already, haven’t they?

You can watch the Apple’s press conference video by hitting this link.

Skype vs Fring – Skype says Fring was being illegal

As we’ve covered already, Skype calls and instant messaging is not available for Fring users anymore. Fring calls it a cowardly act by Skype. Skype on the other hand says that they have not blocked out Fring without any reason. According to Skype, Fring was using Skype API in a way it is not supposed to be use, hence violating the API use agreement. This is what official Skype blog says about it:

Fring was using Skype software in a way it wasn’t designed to be used – and in a way which is in breach of Skype’s API Terms of Use and End User License Agreement. We’ve been talking with Fring for some time to try to resolve this amicably.

However, over time, Fring’s mis-use of our software was increasingly damaging our brand and reputation with our customers. On Friday, for example, Fring withdrew support for video calls over Skype on iOS 4 without warning, again damaging our brand and disappointing our customers, who have high expectations of the Skype experience.

Whatever is cooking between Fring and Skype, its turning out to be a nightmare for a lot of Fring users. Some believe its a move  by Skype because they are now coming up with their own Skype client on many mobile platforms, so they are trying to keep Fring’s competition at bay. Whatever is the case, all those users are suffering real bad who have been using them on mobile phones which do not support the native Skype clients and they are left without the capability of making or receiving skype calls on their phones.

Mobile Phones are better than Computers – Green Computing

Mobile Phone Power Consumption
Mobile Phones consume very low power

What do you use your computer for? Surfing Internet, chat, gaming, social networking, downloading, desktop computing including documents, spreadsheets or presentation making or just watching your photos and videos? Today’s mobile phones are capable of doing it all, rather sometimes more than the traditional phones. They have faster processors, more ram, faster  wireless Internet connectivity and larger memories.

Today I will start another series of posts that will tell you how to use your phones to do things that you usually do with your computers including desktops, laptops and netbooks. This series of posts will include tips, tricks and software that you can use to avoid the use of computers and just use your phone 🙂

Why are mobile phones better?

If you have not done so, you can read my earlier articles that prove that laptops are better than desktops, because they take around 60 watts of power as compared to a few hundred watts. Then we also discussed that netbooks are even better than laptops taking half the power as compared to a full sized notebook. Today we will move one step ahead.

To prove my point I used this app called Nokia Energy Profiler. The app is a free download available on Nokia OVI store for almost all Nokia devices. The application gives you exact numbers in terms of power consumption, network bandwidth utilization and a few more important things that you never come to know when using a  mobile phone. Just like any other computing device, Nokia phones consume low power when idle and take more power when performing more computation.

Here are a few screen-shots. As you can see, when the phone is idle, it takes 0.18 watts on average. When navigating the menu and viewing simple content like photos on the phone screen, its consuming 0.23 watts on average. In the third screenshot, the phone is being used for a voice+video call over a wifi network and the battery usage is at it’s top, that is around 2 watts.

Idle State
Phone Menu Use
Skype Video Call - High Power Consumption
Sudden Spike when receiving call

In the last screen shot you can see the sudden rise in battery consumption when there’s an incoming call ringing and picked up.

In any case, this particular cellphone is using less than 2 watts of power which is way less than the other computing devices we listed above.

Conclusion

Use mobile phones for your computing needs whenever and wherever possible. You’ll save power and will contribute your efforts in keeping this planet green. Happy Green Computing!

No Skype on Fring anymore

Skype Blocks Fring

This has been a shock for me. I have been using Fring for voice and video calls for years now and all my Skype calls simply land on my mobile. Skype has suddenly stopped working on Fring and I was wondering what happened? Just a simple search and I find all Fring users ranting all over the web about this latest change.

How Fring describes it is a cowardly act by Skype. This is what a post titled “Skype Cowardly Blocks Fring” on Fring Blog says about the recent development:

we are very disappointed that Skype, who once championed the cause of openness is now trying to muzzle competition, even at the expense of its own users.

I’ve been using Fring on Nokia and then on Android. Why I use Fring+Skype is the lack f the native Skype app on my favorite handsets. Well, Skype has been developing clients for the new platforms but we still have a big gap between supply and demand of this app on different platforms. Skyp is still not available on my BlackBerry 9700 and its not available for another number of handsets running on Android and Symbian while Fring was filling up this gap quite well.

Now this is what you call pulling the plug. I’m an unhappy fring+skype user 🙁

p.s: Do you have an alternate app in mind that will let me make and receive Skype voice and video calls over data networks. This is really frustrating

From Megabyte to Terrabyte – A walk down memory lane

It was just like yesterday when I booted a PC using a 1.2 megabyte floppy disk. Things have been moving real fast and I just got my hands onto my 2 terabyte disk a few weeks back. It’s quite a coincidence that both the disks I’m talking about were external disks. A 1.2 megabyte external magnetic disk that could be inserted into a 5.25 inch drive was a removable media and my huge 2 terabyte drive is a USB external drive too.

Taking a glimpse at the past for a moment, I’ve been using every different type of digital storage media including the soft 5.25 inch floppies, 3.5 inch diskets, some tape drives I dont remember the type of, internal hard drives, zip drives, internal hard disks, USB flash disks, memory cards and the optical media of course including CDs, DVDs and Blue Rays. I can guarantee you that the satisfaction of buying a new 5.25 inch floppy was so fulfilling that cannot be matched by buying a multi-terrabyte hard drive today.

Just to keep the count right for some of my readers, one Terrabyte is 1,000,000 Megabytes or a 1000 Gigabytes. Thats a lot of space when it comes to storing data but my 1.2 Megabyte or even my 720 KB (0.72 MB) disk felt as spacious back then. My good old floppies could store thousands of text files, large databases and even a few games and software.

Today’s multi-terabyte hard drives sound huge but they are not that ahead of times. The amount of digital media being produced today is enormous. Multi-mega-pixel digital cameras in everybody’s hands and digital video recorders make a good percentage of digital media producers and we also tend to keep a stored log of most of the photos we take. This smart-phone in my pocket for example records 720p HD video that takes a gigabyte worth space for only 10 minutes’ video recording.

People have been trying to predict the speed of growth and improvement in computing device capabilities. To talk about hard drive capacity, Kryder’s Law has been doing a good job for a while and then it was broken too in 2005.

Kryder’s Law
Kryder’s law states that the hard disk’s areal capacity doubles every year. This law held almost for a decade from 1995 to 2005 and then things started changing. Capacity growth slowed down and the law was broken.

The storage capacity growth depends on how things improve in scientific labs and micro electronic engineering departments of top universities and such scientific growth may not follow any laws. On the other hand, there’s another law named Moore’s law that has been true fore more than 45 years now. Actually Kryder’s Law was drawn from the Moore’s law.

Moore’s Law
This is what I found as a definition on Wikipedia for Moore’s law.

Moore’s law describes a long-term trend in the history of computing hardware. The number of transistors that can be placed inexpensively on an integrated circuit has doubled approximately every two years.The trend has continued for more than half a century and is not expected to stop until 2015 or later.

When will I find a Yottabyte drive?

A look at the growth trends in hard drive space, you can try figuring out when will you hit the Yottabyte mark. If it took me 15 years to move from a gigabyte to a terabyte and we predict the similar trends, it will take us another 60 years to install 1 Yotta-Byte Hard Drives in our desktop computers.

By that time, either we’ll have moved on with another mode of computing and another model of hardware placement, or we might have actually stopped longing for more memory. I have very naïve knowledge to predict the future but wait till 2070 when you’ll find 1 Yottabyte hard drives selling in  your computing supermarkets 😉

In the end, this table from Wikipedia will really help you understand the units with all the flashy names like petabyte, exabyte, zettabyte etc.

As I’ve discussed this earlier the hard drive manufacturers follow the SI standards, not the IEC system.

iPhone 4 vs Nokia N8 – And the winner is ..

This has been a long awaited post and a few of my readers have been requesting for it repeatedly. I’ve finally decided to write on this topic. Some of my readers will call it a redundant post as so many has been said about these two phones and then some of them will call it biased due to Nokia being my all time favorite but I will still not be reluctant writing the post as it is totally based on facts and figures and I have not been unjust.

iPhone 4 by Apple and Nokia N8 have been put into a side by side table below. Thanks to GSM Arena, I did not have to type in all this data. What I’ve done is, I’ve colored this table green wherever I found a superior feature in one of the two phones. Quite interestingly iPhone is a winner in launching the phone first, it is smaller in volume, it’s got a gyro sensor, higher resolution screen, greater internal memory, better CPU clock and a larger battery capacity.

That makes around 8 features better than Nokia’s N8. Am I praising Apple’s marvel too much? Well, let’s look at Nokia’s features where Nokia is a winner against iPhone. The list is endlessly long and Nokia has around 19 features that are significantly better than that of iPhone including a 12 megapixel stunning still camera with a Carl Zeiss lens, Micro SD Slot which will let you plug in upto 32 GB of a memory card, USB on the go that will allow you to plug in your USB flash drives and hard disks as an additional storage space to  your phone, 720p HDMI TV out, Flash support in browser, faster class 33 edge and much more. See the table below yourself, I’m not biased 😉

Hence the winner is … Nokia N8 without any doubt.

While my favorite of all the features will be the Nokia logo on the device that looks much better to me as compared to that of a metallic apple 🙂 . Where Nokia has lost it is; the delayed release that is causing additional curiosity and unrest among the fans who cannot take it anymore. Just release it Nokia!

Apple iPhone 4

Nokia N8

General

2G Network

GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900

GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900

3G Network

HSDPA 850 / 900 / 1900 / 2100

HSDPA 850 / 900 / 1700 / 2100 /1900

Announced

2010, June

2010, April

Status

Available. Released 2010, June

Coming soon. Exp. release 2010, October

Size

Dimensions

115.2 x 58.6 x 9.3 mm

113.5 x 59.1 x 12.9 mm, 86 cc

Weight

137 g

135 g

Display

Type

TFT capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors

AMOLED capacitive touchscreen, 16M
colors

Size

640 x 960 pixels, 3.5 inches

360 x 640 pixels, 3.5 inches

– Scratch-resistant surface

– Scratch-resistant surface

– Multi-touch input method

– Multi-touch input method

– Accelerometer sensor for auto-rotate

– Accelerometer sensor for UI auto-rotate

– Three-axis gyro sensor

– Proximity sensor for auto turn-off

– Proximity sensor for auto turn-off

Sound

Alert types

Vibration, MP3 ringtones

Vibration; MP3, WAV ringtones

Speakerphone

Yes

Yes

– 3.5 mm headset jack

– 3.5 mm audio jack

Memory

Phonebook

Practically unlimited entries and fields, Photocall

Practically unlimited entries and fields, Photocall

Call records

100 received, dialed and missed calls

Detailed, max 30 days

Internal

16/32 GB storage, 512 MB RAM

16 GB storage, 256MB RAM, 512 MB ROM

Card slot

No

microSD, up to 32GB

Data

GPRS

Class 10 (4+1/3+2 slots), 32 – 48 kbps

Class 33

EDGE

Class 10, 236.8 kbps

Class 33

3G

HSDPA, 7.2 Mbps; HSUPA, 5.76 Mbps

HSDPA, 10.2 Mbps; HSUPA, 2.0 Mbps

WLAN

Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n

Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, UPnP technology

Bluetooth

Yes, v2.1 with A2DP

Yes, v3.0 with A2DP

Infrared port

No

No

USB

Yes, v2.0

Yes, microUSB v2.0, USB On-the-go
support

Camera

Primary

5 MP, 2592 x 1944 pixels, autofocus, LED flash

12 MP, 4000×3000 pixels, Carl Zeiss
optics, autofocus, Xenon flash

Features

Touch focus, geo-tagging

1/1.83” sensor size, ND filter, geo-tagging, face and smile
detection

Video

Yes, 720p@30fps, LED video light, geo-tagging

Yes, 720p@25fps

Secondary

Yes, videocalling over Wi-Fi only

VGA videocall camera

Features

OS

iOS 4

Symbian ^3 OS

CPU

1 GHz Apple A4 processor

ARM 11 680 MHz processor, 3D Graphics HW accelerator

Messaging

SMS (threaded view), MMS, Email, Push Email

SMS (threaded view), MMS, Email, Push Email, IM

Browser

HTML (Safari)

WAP 2.0/xHTML, HTML, RSS feeds

Radio

No

Stereo FM radio with RDS; FM transmitter

Games

Downloadable, incl. motion-based

Yes + downloadable

Colors

Black, White

Dark Grey, Silver White, Green, Blue, Orange

GPS

Yes, with A-GPS support

Yes, with A-GPS support; Ovi Maps 3.0

Java

No

Yes, MIDP 2.1

MicroSIM card support only

– Document viewer (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, PDF)

– Scratch-resistant glass back panel

– Dolby Digital Plus via HDMI

– Active noise cancellation with dedicated mic.

– Anodized aluminum casing

– Digital compass

– Digital compass

– Google Maps

– Video/photo editor

iBooks application

DivX/XviD/MP4/H.264/H.263/WMV
player

– Audio/video player and editor

– MP3/WMA/WAV/eAAC+ player

– Voice command/dial

– Voice command/dial

– TV-out

– TV-out (720p video) via HDMI and composite

– Flash Lite v4.0

Battery

Standard battery, Li-Po 1420mAh

Standard battery, Li-Ion 1200 mAh
(BL-4D)

Stand-by

Up to 300 h (2G) / Up to 300 h (3G)

Up to 390 h (2G) / Up to 400 h (3G)

Talk time

Up to 14 h (2G) / Up to 7 h (3G)

Up to 12 h 30 min (2G) / Up to 5 h 30 min (3G)

Music play

Up to 40 h

Up to 50 h

*** Update

While iPhone 4 is not available unlocked without a voice/data contract in US, we can compare UK prices of iPhone 4 and Nokia N8.Right now, the approximate price of unlocked 16GB iPhone 4 in UK is GBP 499 that is around USD 760. Same 16 GB iPhone 4 is available for Eur 629 in France for example.

On the other hand, Nokia N8 is expected to be available for around Eur 450 on launch. Even if it sells for Eur 500, its pretty economical, isn’t it? 🙂

Entrepreneurs can do anything!

Just came across this video and it’s so inspiring. The video comes from USA and focuses on US entrepreneurs as such but every bit of it makes sense in it’s international perspective too. Thanks Jehan for the wonderful dig.