Sunday, 26 April 2015

How to make a whatsapp call in kenya

I know this is a late post but I feel may be some people have not yet upgraded their Whatsapp application. Kenyans are very cautious with their data bundle usage and will not update their apps unless it’s not working or mandatory. That’s not what I want to talk about. Whatsapp have introduced the calling feature which will make it possible to make a call within the application without incurring the normal call charges by the carrier. So the next time you connected to a Wi-Fi network go ahead and give it a trial. This feature uses cellular data that means the only cost you will incur is in terms of data usage.

For you to be able to receive the calls via whatsapp both users must be online or have whatsapp and data on in their phones. When the call is made it indicates whatsapp call somewhat different from the way you receive a normal call.

As we know the main telephony companies in Kenya have been trying to outdo each other in terms of competitive call rates. Airtel introduced Unliminet package recently which to me is not bad. Considering data bundles have become cheap Whatsapp calling feature is something worth checking out in Nairobi.
Both Safaricom and Airtel have the same price for making off net calls that is 4ksh per minute. If you do the math if you spoke for 10 minute that will cost you 40ksh which can buy 50MB worth of data or even more in Airtel.

Whatsapp calling feature consumes around 1mb for a 3min call. Well this is very interesting and lets just hope it’s going to challenge the main players to reduce the call rate to may be 3ksh. The only drawback which will not make it the mainstream option for calling is some folks still don’t have whatsapp like in upcountry. So you will still need to have your airtime ready if you can’t make a whatsapp call in Kenya.
The service is already in motion on most android phones and soon Windows, IOS and blackberry will receive the same. I updated my whatsapp on my iPhone and was able to make the call which means it can also work on IOS. I haven’t blogged for quite some time but am back to keep you posted on any development. Have a great week folks.

Turning your windows PC to a Wifi hotspot

Today I discovered a very useful feature that can be used to create a hotspot using windows 7 or windows 8 computers. Basically you can share your internet with other users via Wi-Fi without having to tether your phone like in the case of android phones. What happens is your Wireless adapter can be used to create a virtual Wi-Fi hotspot and then share the connection with other users. This can work for instance in an office where you have a laptop and it uses an Ethernet connection but the laptop has the ability to access WI-FI. You can therefore go ahead and share the same internet with your other Wi-Fi devices such as a Phone, Tablet etc.

You are going to create a virtual router using your laptops Wireless Lan card. To do this you will need to first check if the laptops WLAN card supports this service. Most laptops running Windows 7 support Microsoft Virtual Wi-Fi miniport adapter. You can check on device manager by expanding Network adapters. In some cases this might not be available and will need you to update your drivers for the WLAN card like in my case. I couldn’t find the Microsoft virtual Wi-Fi miniport adapter first until I updated my drivers from HP website. Also check by going to the device manager then select View>>Show hidden devices>> Network Adapters and it will show up. If disabled, enable it.
The following steps will help you set up your Wi-Fi hotspot.

  1. You will need a laptop or desktop that has Wi-Fi drivers and connection working. 
  2. Head to this website and download the Virtual Router manager v1.0 , this tiny software will do the everything for you. It has an option to set the Wi-Fi name/SSID and Password for the Wi-Fi connection.
  3. Select the connection you want to share e.g. Local Area Connection 3 and you are good to go.

For those who are not able to create the Virtual network the following troubleshooting steps can be followed to make it work

  • Uninstall and re-install the WLAN drivers or Update them.
  • Microsoft has also released  a hotfix for the same for anybody getting the following error “The group or resource is not in the correct state to perform the requested operation”  you can download it from this page.
  • If that doesn’t work also check enable Windows Hosted virtual network by using the following Commands in CMD

netsh wlan set hostednetwork mode=allowTo allow hosted network to work
netsh wlan show driverTo show the state of the adapter if hosted network is on and supported
netsh wlan set hostednetwork mode=allow ssid=VirtualRouter(SSID) key=123456789 (password)To start it manually using command prompt

NB:Remember some old laptops wireless card may not support this feature also computer running older version of windows such as Windows XP,Windows Vista
If you need my help you can comment and I will help where I can

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

How to load windows 7 from network

Have you ever been in a situation where you need to install Windows on a laptop or machine and you don’t have a flash disk, USB cd rom or the CD rom doesn’t work? This is what I experienced lately but I stretched my limits and decided to try loading the OS using the network boot option.
So today am going to explain to you how you can load your windows installation over the network. This can be achieved if you computers are on the same network i.e. if you are using a router or using a cross over cable like in my case. Ever wondered how Windows is deployed in big companies with over 50 computers. This is how it’s done.
You need software called SERVA.  Head over to their website and download the NON-Supporter version which is free.
We will refer to the computer that has the OS as the SOURCE and the one we want to install the OS as the CLIENT. Most of the work will happen on the SOURCE computer.

Requirements before starting:

  1. Windows 7, Windows 8 or Windows XP whole installation files the way they appear on a DVD.
  2. Source computer must have a username and password
  3. Computers on same network or IP address set with the same range
  4. Network drivers for the client computer extracted. Check for ".inf" and ".cat".
  5. Network cable cross over or straight through cable if using a router
Now that we have ensured all pre-requisites are set we need to extract the SERVA software to a folder on one of our local partitions on the SOURCE computer. D:\Serva
Next thing you do is create another folder named D:\Servaroot remember the folders should not contain spaces or long names. This is the folder where you will store Windows installation files

Step 1

a)Start serva from the D:\serva folder and run it for the first time on the source computer.  Go to settings to configure the settings for DHCP and TFTP. If you are using a router enable Proxy DHCP, BINL and Bind DHCP. In my case I used a cross over to connect my two computers, so I enabled DHCP server and BINL and also enabled Bind DHCP to this address options. This is how I set up my configuration refer to this image
b)Go to the TFTP tab and enable TFTP server also make sure bind TFTP to this address is selected don’t change anything here except the TFTP server root directory which you will set to the folder you created D:\Servaroot\
c)Close serva program and it will configure some folders on D:\servaroot ready for you to copy windows files.

Step 2

Copy your windows installation files on the folder that has been created automatically on D:\Servarot\WIA_WDS\Windows7. If you are installing earlier versions like win XP use WIA_RIS folder or NWA_PXE for Linux installation
The next thing you need to do is make sure you share the WIA_WDS. The exact name for the share name should be WIA_WDS_SHARE.
Also very important copy the Network drivers you extracted for the client computer on the following folder D:\servaroot\WIA_WDS\WINDOWS7\$OEM$\$1\Drivers\NIC.

Step 3

Start serva program on the source computer and don’t close it.
Boot the client computer and select the Network boot option, Boot from LAN or PXE boot. Remember you can set it as first priority clients BIOS.    

Step 4

If everything goes successfully you will see some activity on the Serva program as it binds the Clients IP address and starts communicating with it. You will be prompted to choose the Operating system you set i.e. Windows 7 and press Enter. After successful network drivers installation you will be prompted to enter the source computer log in details and the installation will run just like a normal windows installation.

If you encounter any problems you can always comment and i will try my best to assist. Most errors occur if you don't configure the IP address correctly or if you the clients Network drivers are not detected.Make sure you have the correct NIC drivers for you network card.

Thursday, 1 January 2015

How to Unbrick or restore a Samsung Galaxy Ace stuck on Samsung Logo

Many newbies brick or corrupt their Android phones when trying to update out of curiosity. This may end up badly sometimes with the phones getting stuck on the Samsung logo on start up. I normally don’t like to work on phones that are stuck on startup but when my friends experience this kind of problems I always assist when I can.
So today I will show you how to unbrick your Samsung Galaxy Ace S5830i which is bricked. By following these simple instructions you will be able to restore your phone to its factory settings just like when you bought it.
You will need to download ODIN which is the basic software used to flash Samsung phones. I used the following specific version which worked well. You can use other versions it doesn’t matter.
Second download the Firmware files needed. For this specific model I used the files packaged by a member from xdaforum. The firmware is Australian phone based but will work well with any Samsung Galaxy ace S5830i model.You will need this  password: to extract the zip file
The last thing you will need is to have Samsung drivers installed on you PC. I have them pre-installed since I have the latest Kies. But you can Google and find the Samsung USB drivers easily.
Now we are all set to begin the procedure.
  1. First thing is to open ODIN by right clicking and running it as Administrator.
  2. Now the next thing you will do is to put your Samsung ace to download mode by pressing Volume UP + Volume Down + Power button the same time. The phone should display the prompt for getting into download mode which you accept by pressing Volume UP. Some phone may not be able to display anything on the screen but make sure you follow the sequence and ODIN should now detect the phone by displaying the COM port connected via USB.
  3. The next step is to add the files needed to flash to ODIN. Start with the PIT file downloaded together with ODIN version I gave earlier.
  4. Then add the Bootloader file found on the extracted zip, add the PDA file, Phone which is named as MODEMxxxx.tar and finally the CSCxxx.tar file.Make sure you don’t skip any file; also they should indicate success on the left side when they get added successfully on ODIN.
  5. Now you just need to hit start and you Samsung Galaxy ace S5830i firmware will be flashed in about 3 minutes.You should get a message indicating the process has run successfully and you can now unplug your USB cable from you phone. Then phone may restart or you can manually restart the phone. 
  6. Now you may need to change the language and time to complete the Set up.
I hope this will help anybody out there with a Samsung galaxy ace S5830i that’s bricked or unable to boot.

Saturday, 30 August 2014

How to unlock an iPhone locked to international networks in Kenya

How to unlock an iPhone locked to international networks in Kenya
If you live in Kenya like me then you know that iPhones are sold quite expensive by the few authorized apple dealers. These include telecommunication companies such as orange and Airtel who got authorized recently to start selling apple devices. IPhones bought directly from the shop are quite expensive and that’s why most people opt to import Locked phones then later unlock them to use any Sim card in Kenya. The price of an iPhone 5 bought directly from the shop cost around 70,000/= 16GB, 75,000/= 32GB and around 80,000/= for 64GB. Remember this is just a rough estimate. According to apple only orange appears on their website as an authorized dealers and distributors. But other companies like Elitedigital also have some kind of dealership with apple. At the end of the day most Kenyans cannot afford this kind of overrated kind of phones. But I have seen incredible cheap prices for the same device on OLX and jumia website for guys selling their iPhones at a cheap price.
This post is not exactly aimed at people who want to buy brand a brand new iPhone in Kenya but rather those whose iPhones are lying idle locked to international networks such as AT&T, T-Mobile, Vodafone, Verizon, Orange and the list goes on. What happens abroad is when you buy a phone its tied to a contract by the mobile service providers since you get into some kind of contract unlike in Kenya where most us buy phones directly from shops on cash basis. If you purchase directly from apple you will get the device at higher price since its unlocked but if you want to get it cheaper you can buy under a contract which makes it cheaper around $100 – 150 but provided you stick to the contract of using that specific network i.e. AT&T or Verizon.

Locked iPhones get their way to Kenya through people who have relocated to Kenya from abroad and the device are still locked to their original carrier and therefore cannot work with simcards in Kenya. What you need to know before you unlock this kind of phones is the carrier will not unlock them freely unless you have been a loyal customer on their network and have spent quite some money on their pricing plans that they offer both prepaid and postpaid. So how can you unlock them if they are still locked by their original carrier? Different companies have different rules for unlocking; I will try to cover AT&T because I have dealt with iPhones locked to this network frequently.
Since most people don’t meet the requirements of getting the phone unlocked at no cost you need to use a third party unlock solutions to get the device unlocked. The most important thing with your phone is it needs to be “CLEAN” that means it has not been reported lost, stolen or barred by the carrier due to unpaid bills. Once you provide us with the IMEI of the device its checked against carrier database to confirm its clean. Most devices that land in Kenya sometimes are either reported lost or the owner had some unpaid bills with previous carrier abroad.
This kind of iPhones can be unlocked by either normal cheap service or premium service if blacklisted or barred. A couple of websites run paid services to check if the device is Blacklisted or what network its locked too if you can’t tell or access the device to see. Once the status is confirmed you can go ahead and order the service. If the device is clean you can try to use the cheap option (70-80% success rate) or you can go for the premium service which is guaranteed to unlock it (100% success rate).
This is where I come in if you want to unlock your device I can assist you confirm if its blacklisted, or what network its locked to. This is very important for new buyers who have never used iPhones. Before you buy always confirm the device is not blacklisted or iCloud locked (refer to my previous post). I have seen naïve people buy devices that are as good as a Toy. Especially iCloud locked iPhones in Kenya. Also blacklisted iPhones are a bit expensive to unlock.
What the unlock is in simple language is your IMEI is submitted to apple servers by your carrier as unlocked that means it can connect to iTunes and apple servers deem it unlocked. Remember this is a joint effort between apple and carriers. Once the device IMEI is unlocked you can connect the phone to iTunes and the device communicates with apple servers and will give you a status unlocked if successful. If unsuccessful you will get a message "the sim card inserted in this iPhone does not appear to be supported. Please contact original carrier”.

If somebody tells you he is going to unlock your iPhone using some kind of software don’t fall that lie. It used to be done but apple have sealed all loopholes and starting from iPhone 4s and above only solutions is factory unlocking or by use a Sim interposer the likes of GEVEY or RSIM or XSIM…don’t mind the jargon/lingo used here.
I cannot be able to explain everything on a single post. But if you own an iPhone, iPod or iPad that’s locked I can help you get it unlocked at a good deal. If you need my help feel free to contact me.