Category Archives: News

We urgently need your help – Please support Mari #HelpMari

It has been quiet some time since my last post here. Shifting house , being busy working on other things and vacation plus important time with my family had been my priority for the last months.

I am writing today as I came to know that Mari, a loyal friend, a contributor on the Blog and a generally very lovely person is suffering from a stage 5 Kidney disease.  The Kidneys are working only at a very few percent as of now. She needs urgent dialysis treatments and a kidney transplant . She is currently in Dubai,  she is due to her sickness not on a job any longer and is also without healthcare and a valid visa right now. She has failed to meet financial obligations which make it impossible for her just to leave the country and get (a still very expensive) treatment in the Philippines.  She has as well two kids who still need her mother with them.

Her sister has setup a gofundme.com campaign in order to raise money for improving her health status as there is no other way out. If you can support the Campaign or work for or know an organisation that could help her here in the UAE please let me know. Any help is much appreciated.  Our prayers are with Mari and her family.

#HelpMari

Electronics banned from cabins on some Middle Eastern flights to the U.S.

The U.S. and U.K. on Tuesday banned people flying from much of the Middle East and North Africa from carrying laptops, tablets and other large electronic devices in the airplane cabin because of concerns about terrorism.

New security restrictions from the Trump administration require nine airlines based in the region to prevent people flying from eight countries from bringing any device bigger than a smartphone on board. Those devices will have to be checked into the luggage hold.

The U.S. ban will affect more than 50 flights a day from 10 airports in the mainly Muslim countries, including major hubs such as Dubai and Istanbul, according to senior administration officials. The nine airlines affected were notified of the procedures by the U.S. at 3 a.m. ET Tuesday and must comply within 96 hours.

The U.K. ban affects six countries, including two not on the U.S. list — Tunisia and Lebanon.

Top international carriers — such as Emirates Airline, Qatar Airways, British Airways and Turkish Airlines — are among those that will have to implement new restrictions.

The U.S. officials said intelligence “indicates terrorist groups continue to target commercial aviation” by “smuggling explosive devices in various consumer items.” The officials declined to provide specific information on the threat or why these particular airports were selected.

“Just evaluating all the intelligence, we believe that the threat is still prominent against aircraft and airports,” an official said.

The British government said the new security measures were agreed early on Tuesday. “We have been in close touch with the Americans to fully understand their position,” it said in a statement.

U.S. airlines not affected

The 10 international airports covered by the U.S. ban are in Cairo, Egypt; Dubai and Abu Dhabi, U.A.E.; Istanbul, Turkey; Doha, Qatar; Amman, Jordan; Kuwait City; Casablanca, Morocco; and Jeddah and Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

The nine airlines are Egyptair, Emirates Airline, Etihad Airways, Kuwait Airways, Qatar Airways, Royal Air Maroc, Royal Jordanian Airlines, Saudi Arabian Airlines and Turkish Airlines.

The officials said U.S. carriers are not affected because none of them fly from the airports in question to the U.S.

The U.K. restrictions apply to flights from Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia and Saudi Arabia on 14 airlines, including some based in Britain.

Source: cnn.com

The 2017 World Happiness Report is released…

The happiness of the world is at home in Northern Europe – this impression is at least one of the annual success stories published annually by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network since 2012.
Norway landed on 1st place, thus replacing the previously three-time winner Denmark. Last year the Norwegians were still in fourth place. Denmark and Iceland can be found in ranks 2 and 3. Finland is behind Switzerland in fifth place, and Sweden is also in the top ten with the 10th place. Germany’s ranking went down again. The UAE came in on 21st place being after Israel the best Middle Eastern country in the ranking. Qatar came in on 35th place and Saudi Arabia on 37th being happier then Kuwait on 39 and Bahrain on 41.  The Philippines came in on 72nd having been on the 90th place in 2015.

Although Germany was able to improve by ten ranks from 2015 to 2016, this year, as in the previous year, it was ranked 16th – behind countries such as the USA (14), Costa Rica (12) or Israel (11). At the very back is the Central African Republic. With the exception of Syria, Afghanistan, Haiti, Ukraine and Yemen, most of the other 30 countries in Africa are among the 30 most behind countries. For the report, international researchers have investigated 155 countries.

Norway

So  why do Nordic countries end up so far on top?

If you look at the top five, it is noticeable that, except for Switzerland, they are all countries from the northern part of Europe.

Why is it that the Nordic countries always end up in the front ranks? When you ask the people on the streets of the Norwegian capital Oslo,  it is the little everyday life that makes the inhabitants happy. “I’m just happy that the sun has come back and the spring is coming,” says Maiken Mikkelsen. And further: “It makes me happy when I can be out in nature, and when I am with my friend.” For Haakon Stauge, it is the time with his children, which makes life worth living.

“We are doing well here in Norway”

One might well say: What makes the Norwegians so happy is that most do not have much worries. “We are a rich country. We have a lot of resources and a high income, “says the sociologist Anders Barstad from the Norwegian Statistical Office. “In Norway and the Nordic countries there are very small differences in income. We have little poverty and unemployment. ”
If you have work and a healthy family, you are more likely to feel happy or do not see a reason to be not. “We are doing well here in Norway and I am so old that I appreciate life,” says 64-year-old Eli Sandvig, who comes from Haugesund. “I am lucky to be able to walk with my little dog Elmo.”

For the first time, the World Happiness Report was published in collaboration with the United Nations in 2012. Today, Professor Jeffrey Sachs of New York University, Columbia University, and a group of international experts are behind it. According to them, people’s happiness depends above all on the factors of caring, freedom, generosity, honesty, health, income and good governance.

Despite darkness little depression

The well-developed welfare system ensures that Scandinavians have to think less about their future, says Barstad. “There are small problems on the horizon, but I do not believe that people are worried.” The northern men not only trust the authorities, the police and the judiciary more than the people of other countries but also each other. More than 75 percent of all Norwegians believe that most people can be trusted.

In spite of the darkness in the north, only a few of his countrymen are depressed, according to Barstad, and the Scandinavians are hardly affected by stress. The Norwegians say the Finns are more miserable. “Many people in Norway feel that we are happier than the Finns,” says Barstad. Only a small group in the north consider many Norwegians to be even happier than themselves: the Danes, who have just finished second in the ranking. “We Norwegians are very aware that the Danes are the happiest people on earth,” says Barstad.

How Happiness is measured

The report combines country data with surveys on the self-perception of its inhabitants. Important factors in the measurement of happiness are, among other things, the subjectively perceived happiness, the feeling of freedom, its life itself, the personal perception of corruption and generosity in a country as well as income, life expectancy and the available social network.

The generosity of the interviewees in donations also plays a role in the measurement of happiness. Negative factors such as worries, grief and anger also flow.

From this, each country gets a number of points. The more points, the higher the position in the ranking. Norway thus reaches 7537 points – only 15 points more than the Danes in second place.

This year’s report is based on data from the years 2014 to 2016.

This is the Top 30 of World Happiness Report 2017
1.Norway
2.Danmark
3.Iceland
4.Switzerland
5.Finland
6.Netherlands
7.Canada
8.New Zealand
9.Australia
10.Sweden
11.Israel
12.Costa Rica
13.Austria
14.Unites States
15.Ireland
16.Germany
17.Belgium
18.Luxembourg
19.United Kingdom
20.Chile
21.United Arab Emirates
22.Brazil
23.Czech Republic
24.Argentina
25.Mexico
26.Singapore
27.Malta
28.Uruguay
29.Guatemala
30.Panama

You can download the full report here:  

You can pre-order a BlackBerry KEYone now from Media Markt Germany

lthough we’ve yet to hear from any carriers opening up pre-orders for the BlackBerry KEYone, several third-party retailers have already begun. The latest added to the mix is Media Markt Germany which now has the BlackBerry KEYone listed for €599.00 through their online portal.

Perhaps more interesting than their listed pricing, though, is the date they have listed for shipment. According to Media Markt information, when ordered through them, the BlackBerry KEYone will ship on May 5 BUT, there has been some debate about that release date as well from their customer service via Twitter.

Of course, release dates with pre-orders are always subject to change so if you do decide to pre-order through Media Markt, be sure to keep that in mind. Maybe hold off for a bit and see if the date changes again, as it has changed a couple of times already.

You can place your pre -order from Media Markt here.

Source: CrackBerry

TCL Communication launched the all-new BlackBerry KEYone at Mobile World Congress!

After quite some months of anticipation and teasing , TCL Communication has now officially given the new keyboard device formerly known as the ‘Mercury’ a name, a pricing, and even a release timeframe. As unveiled at Mobile World Congress, the BlackBerry KEYone will be available globally beginning this April and will be priced at or under €599 /£499 /$549 .

On the inside of the BlackBerry KEYone is the Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 octa-core SoC along with Adreno 506 GPU. The phone comes with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage, plus you can expand for more storage with a microSD card. There is also a decent sized 3,505 mAh battery along with Quick Charge 3.0 support; additionally, BlackBerry touts a “Boost mode” for charging speeds, although this merely consists of turning on Power Saving mode when the device is charging. Seeing how battery efficient the Snapdragon 625 SoC is, how small the display is and how large the battery is, the BlackBerry KEYone will easily be able to provide more than a day’s worth of battery life.

For the camera, the BlackBerry KEYone comes with a 12MP Sony IMX 378 sensor on the rear, and a 8MP front camera. The rear sensor is the same as one used on the Google Pixel, so we will have to see how BlackBerry manages the camera software to compete with top end flagships.

The BlackBerry KEYone also comes with the latest Android 7.1 Nougat software right out-of-the-box. BlackBerry has also been fantastic with timely security updates. Combined with their own security enhancements on the device like the DTEK app and feature additions like the BlackBerry Hub, the KEYone will be a good choice for corporate and enterprise customers.


You can check out the full press release below:

DISTINCTLY DIFFERENT. DISTINCTLY BLACKBERRY.

TCL COMMUNICATION LAUNCHES ALL-NEW BLACKBERRY KEYone TO THE WORLD AT MWC 2017

BARCELONA – February 25, 2017 – Today, TCL Communication, a leading global smartphone manufacturer, unveiled a new BlackBerry smartphone to the world – the BlackBerry KEYone. This launch represents the first BlackBerry smartphone released from TCL Communication under a new brand licensing agreement signed in December 2016 with BlackBerry Limited. Offering users all the great smartphone features you’d expect – like great camera, display and design – in a distinctly different experience, the KEYone pairs the best of BlackBerry Limited’s software and security with TCL Communication’s commitment to delivering high-quality, reliable smartphones to customers around the world. The BlackBerry KEYone will be available globally beginning in April and will be priced at or under €599 EUR/£499 GBP/$549 USD.

“Impressively designed to be distinctly different, the BlackBerry KEYone reimagines how we communicate by offering unmatched productivity and the world’s most secure Android smartphone experience,” said Nicolas Zibell, CEO for TCL Communication. “We’re humbled to play such an important role in the future of BlackBerry smartphones, which have been so iconic in our industry, and we’re eager to prove to the BlackBerry community that their excitement around this new BlackBerry smartphone is something they can be proud of as well.”

“We want to congratulate TCL Communications on the launch of KEYone,” said Alex Thurber, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Mobility Solutions for BlackBerry. “We have worked closely with TCL to build security and the BlackBerry experience into every layer of KEYone, so the BlackBerry DNA remains very much in place. We couldn’t be more excited to help bring it to market and introduce it to BlackBerry fans.”

DISTINCTLY DIFFERENT

Tucked into an anodized aluminum frame and soft touch textured back, this new BlackBerry smartphone is built to offer the best in durability while still remaining easy on the eyes. Featuring a 4.5-inch display (1620×1080 resolution / 434 PPI 3:2 aspect ratio) with Corning ® Gorilla® Glass 4 that offers greater impact and scratch resistance, the KEYone combines a touch display with a physical keyboard to give users more useable space for typing than a typical 5.5-inch all-touch smartphone.

With BlackBerry KEYone, you can forget what you knew about keyboards. The device’s Smart Keyboard responds to touch gestures mimicking the heritage of the BlackBerry trackpad making web browsing, reading emails and writing messages with flick typing a much smoother and intuitive experience. This Smart Keyboard can also be easily programmed to launch up to 52 customizable shortcuts, such as pressing “I” for your inbox or “M” to access maps; providing even greater ease of use. In addition, KEYone is the first smartphone to provide the security of a fingerprint sensor built directly into the keyboard spacebar, for added functionality and security.

DISTINCTLY BLACKBERRY

Beyond the iconic BlackBerry design that’s been curated for the modern user, the BlackBerry KEYone comes with a number of features and security enhancements making this smartphone distinctly BlackBerry. Out of the box, the device runs Android 7.1 – giving users access to the entire Google Play store and apps – and will receive Google security patch updates. It comes loaded with BlackBerry Hub®, bringing all your messages into one consolidated place; including emails, texts and messages from any social media account. Another benefit of BlackBerry Hub, is the ability to manage multiple email accounts without switching between apps, with support for Gmail, Yahoo Mail, Outlook, Microsoft Exchange accounts, and many other IMAP and POP3 email providers.

What really sets a BlackBerry smartphone apart from any other Android device are the enhanced security features built into every device right from the start. From a hardened operating system to BlackBerry Limited’s proprietary technique for establishing a hardware root of trust adding security keys to the processor, the BlackBerry KEYone is intentionally designed to offer the most secure Android smartphone experience possible. This device comes pre-loaded with DTEK by BlackBerry, offering constant security monitoring and protection of your operating system and apps by letting you know when your privacy could be at risk and how you can take action to improve it. A quick glimpse lets you see the overall security rating for your device and provides simple access allowing you to easily improve your security status. This BlackBerry security application monitors your other apps, alerting you if one is accessing your camera to take a picture or video, turning your microphone on, sending a text message, or accessing your contacts or location.

THE BLACKBERRY KEYONE EXPERIENCE

Beyond the design and security features making the BlackBerry KEYone so distinct, these additional features truly reinvent mobile communications for the business and enterprise user. At the core of this new BlackBerry smartphone is the Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 mobile platform with the Qualcomm AdrenoTM 506 GPU. This means BlackBerry KEYone users will enjoy long battery life thanks to more efficient battery usage and fast LTE speeds for super-fast file sharing. It includes Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0 technology, making it possible for the 3505 mAh battery on the KEYone – the largest ever in a BlackBerry device, to receive up to 50 percent charge in roughly 36 minutes. And for when you only have a few moments to grab a fast charge, BlackBerry’s Boost can turbo charge your battery to get you the most charge with the limited time you have.

“We are proud to be working with TCL on the BlackBerry KEYone,” said Enrico Salvatori, senior vice president and president, Qualcomm EMEA. “The Snapdragon 625 mobile platform with X9 LTE and the Adreno 506 GPU is purpose-built for users who demand superior performance and connectivity coupled with outstanding battery-life.”

The BlackBerry KEYone experience would not be complete though without a great camera. That’s why it includes a 12MP rear camera with the industry leading Sony IMX378 camera sensor. With a large pixel size(1.55μm) and Phase Detect Auto Focus, moments captured on the BlackBerry KEYone will be ultra crisp and clear. And for when you have to take a video conference on the go, it includes an 8MP front camera with fixed focus and 84-degree wide angle lens. For more information about the BlackBerry KEYone and to register for pre-order updates, please visit www.BlackBerryMobile.com.

About TCL Communication

TCL Communication Technology Holdings Limited (TCL Communication) designs, manufactures and markets an expanding portfolio of mobile and internet products and services worldwide under three key brands – TCL, Alcatel and BlackBerry. The company’s portfolio of products are currently sold in over 160 countries throughout North America, Latin America, Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific, TCL Communication ranked as a top-10 global smartphone manufacturer by IDC. Headquartered in Hong Kong, TCL Communication operates nine R&D centers worldwide, employing more than 13,500 people across the globe. For more information, please visit www.tclcom.com. TCL is a registered trademark of TCL Corporation. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. Alcatel is a trademark of Alcatel-Lucent used under license by TCL Communication.

Trademarks, including but not limited to BLACKBERRY and EMBLEM Design are the trademarks or registered trademarks of BlackBerry Limited, used under license, and the exclusive rights to such trademarks are expressly reserved. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. BlackBerry is not responsible for any third-party products or services.

Qualcomm, Snapdragon and Adreno are trademarks of Qualcomm Incorporated, registered in the United States and other countries. Quick Charge is a trademark of Qualcomm Incorporated. Qualcomm Snapdragon, Qualcomm Adreno and Qualcomm Quick Charge are products of Qualcomm Technologies, Inc.

Amazon to spend $1 billion to conquer the Middle East !

Amazon is said to spend $1 billion on buying local e-commerce giant Souq.com. Given that the website was almost an exact copy of Amazon in many ways this just makes sense.

Amazon is one of the world’s largest retail destinations, but it doesn’t have much traction in the Middle East. That’s why rumors that it’s looking to buy Souq.com, the Amazon of the Middle East, make so much sense. Bloomberg is reporting that Jeff Bezos and crew might spend up to $1 billion on the site to gain a foothold across Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the UAE. Neither party is talking about the deal, but if it’s getting reported in an august financial publication like Bloomberg then it must be serious.

Souq has looked to solve challenges that aren’t so prominent in the US and other countries where Amazon is dominant. Inc. profiled the company a few months ago, revealing that the retailer had to develop a new payment platform for a region where credit cards aren’t ubiquitous. So, users are able to shop for products by topping up a prepaid card available at various brick-and-mortar retail outlets. Another issue is logistics, since some regions don’t have as sophisticated delivery services as others — but perhaps that’s something that Amazon can help with.

I would be pretty happy about having the real deal available instead of Souq.com.

Updated: WhatsApp ending support for some devices by end of this year

Back in August I already wrote on how WhatsApp has announced on their blog to discontinue support for some smartphones till the end of the year. Anyone wanting to use WhatsApp as well in the future will so have to switch to a more actual device.

At that time the following devices were put out of support:

  • BlackBerry OS and BlackBerry 10
  • Nokia S40
  • Nokia Symbian S60
  • Android 2.1 and Android 2.2
  • Windows Phone 7.1
  • iPhone 3GS/iOS 6

With an update now on this WhatsApp is extending its support for BlackBerry OS, BlackBerry 10, Nokia S40 and Nokia Symbian S60 until June 30, 2017.

So if you are on one of these devices you got a bit longer to think about what phone comes next.

WhatsApp finally has launched a video calling feature!

WhatsApp has released quite a number of new features in recent months but perhaps the most anticipated one has been video calling. Some users briefly flirted with video calls back in May but it took until October before a wider set of Android device owners could get involved. Now, the Facebook-owned company is ready to unleash video calls on everybody and in the coming days will roll out the feature to iOS, Android and Windows devices. I got it already this morning.

When the feature is activated, open a chat and select the phone icon. You’ll then be given an option to place a voice or video call. When we tested the feature, we found that voice and video quality was excellent over strong WiFi, but your mileage may vary if you’re connecting via a mobile or slower broadband connection.

whatsapp

While Facebook Messenger users have enjoyed voice calls for over a year and a half, and BBM Users since ages, many other popular messaging apps till date still do not offer this feature. With over one billion users, WhatsApp’s video calls can connect people all over the world, regardless of their choice of mobile operating system, allowing it to stay ahead of apps like Google’s Allo for now.

Amazon Prime in Europe gets a price hike

On February 1, 2017 the Amazon Prime membership fee for new signups will be 69 EUR/year (before 49€). The discounted annual membership fee for Amazon Student will then be 34 EUR/year. Customers who use an unbinding trial membership will be charged after their trial membership with the fee displayed during signup.

Existing members, whose next payment is due before July 1 2017, will pay 49 EUR for another year of a Prime membership or 24 EUR for an Amazon Student membership.

The price for Prime was in 2007 at the market launch at 29 euros. At that time, the package included only the free premium shipping. 2014, Amazon increased the price to 49 euros annually as the video-on-demand service instant video became a part of the offer. For the current price increase Amazon does not give a reason. On the side of the new business conditions, it says: “As we continually expand Prime’s benefits to meet growing customer demand, the cost of deploying these services has increased over the years.”

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In an international comparison, the European Prime is still comparatively favorable at 69 euros. The US offer costs $ 99 annually (about € 90); in England, customers pay £ 79 a year (about $ 89). So its still fine. I am running on a European Prime model but i just recently renewd, so it won´t bite me until late next year.

Microsoft launched the Surface Studio – an all All in One Computer

So – Microsoft has shown off its own all-in-one PC to the market targeting the market leaders Apple and Lenovo. The Surface Studio is aimed at professional users. The installed hardware is top notch: Intel processors from the Skylake series are used, up to 32 gigabytes of memory are available. For proper graphicspower, Microsoft gives the Surface Studio a Nvidia card of the type Geforce GTX 980M. The special feature is that the technology is not behind the display, as with most all-in-one PCs, but in the stand. This keeps the device very slim and looks classy. The touch screen monitor measures about one centimeter in thickness, if offers 28 inches of image area and serves rich 13.8 million pixels. Microsoft calls it PixelSense display – trying to establish a marketing term similar to Apple’s retina. Practical: microphones for voice control via Cortana are integrated, as well as a web camera for Windows Hello and Videochats.

Exciting: With the surface dial, Microsoft presents a new control element, which remembers visually a volume control and shows circular functions on the display. But expensive: The equipment was a high price to accept, moreover, Microsoft with the Surface Studio aimed at companies – but even the likely to swallow at 2.999 US dollar (just 2.750 euros) per Surface Studio in the basic version. The top version with an i7 Processor and 32GB Ram will set you back 4.199$.