Tag Archives: google

How To Make Your Android A BlackBerry

blackberry (Photo credit: arrayexception)

So you accepted the peer pressure and finally decided to move to Android from BlackBerry.

The Blackberry experience is an all inclusive flow, in which the experience is about you, the user. For this, I love Blackberry.  Most people who never had the opportunity or patience to try Blackberry believe the only thing it has is BBM. There is more to Blackberry than BBM. Fine, the app catalog is atrocious. But the intrinsic basic phone features are deeply thought out.

For a legacy Blackberry user, Android is too much work. The first thing you shall notice on android is it operates like an operating system. Android is built in a way in which every aspect operates stand alone.Basically Android provides a base upon which, like Windows, you add on the wallpaper, software and utilities you require to suit your needs.This is a good think for a tinkering techie seeking “freedom”, but for someone who wants to buy a functional phone that has been thought out for you in advance, Android is not the best option. The fact that the apps are not built to work with each other sometimes creates issues, one app interrupting or crashing another.

That first week is hard, very hard. You will be excited about the new apps that you now have access to. But from the GUI,games,tools,utilities to deep system functions, Android is suited towards the user tweeking and tinkering every aspect of the phone. The absence of several things will shock you. Having to configure others will shock you too. Fortunately, on Android there is always an app for your needs.

So here is a list of apps for things you take for granted on Blackberry that you require to make your Android life better.

EMAIL: BIS and BB Email System is what any hardcore BlackBerry user swears by. For Android, you have Exchange By TouchDown Key, Under Notrodesk Inc. It is the best Exchange client system on Android.

DOCUMENTS: Blackberry has the ability to view and work on documents, its a business machine. To replicate this on Andorid, use QuickOffice, an excellent documents for mobile service acquired by Google. With PDF support, QuickOffice is the document app of choice on Android. A similar third party app is Go Office Pro.Both also allow you to plug in to documents stored in the cloud on your Google Drive.

SMS SENT TIME: This seems rather foolish, but some Android platforms do not show the time a sender sent you an SMS. Crazy right? Samsung and a few others correct this defect, but some stock android ROMs do not show SMS sent time. Fortunately there is an app for that. SMS Sent Time on the Google Play store.

AUTOREDIAL: If you ever needed to autoredial someone, a feature that comes in built in all basic phones, and on BB, on Android, you require an APP for it. The App is Auto Redial on the Google Play Store.

BB KEYBOARD: Blackberry with their long experience in QWERTY have really done an excellent job with the keyboard. Fortunately for Android folks, there is Swiftkey and Swype. This doesn’t replicate the BB experience but it gets close.

NO BLACKBERRY HUB!! If you have used Blackberry Hub, then you will be distraught at Androids communication experience. The BB hub provides a unified communications hub for tweets, facebook, SMS, Call notifications and alerts,DMs,Emails and other third party apps like Viber and Whatsapp.  To attempt to replicate this experience, download Droid Hub from the App store. Messages+ also on the appstore handles multiple messaging apps in one interface, but still cannot match BB hub.

SMART AUTOMATED ACTIONS:  Blackberry Z10 users talk about Bedtime mode. Like how placing the phones face down, a call is cancelled or goes on vibrate? Or past Ten O’ Clock certain notifications are muted? Or certain times trigger certain actions? Or low battery levels triggers energy saving settings on apps and on the phone? If you want this on your Android phone, download AutoMateIt on the App store. This app enables you to customize automation rules, you set the trigger or set of triggers which will push an action, which is saved as a rule. This can replicate your bedtime mode experience and more.

SEARCH: Its weird that the mighty Google cannot muscle phone search the way Blackberry do. This I am afraid is something you would just have to get used to. BB search is universal and smart, working with and into the whole phone. It searches apps, contacts and actions to them as well! For example to send a text to Jane, if you search “text Jane” it will  open your SMS box with the recipient being Jane. Android unfortunately cannot give the same effect.

BBM:  BBM is finally available for Android, so get this on the app store.

 SIMPLICITY:  Androids interface is like constantly working on DOS, and at the same time layering upwards to Windows type GUI. Honestly, one really does not need to constantly be in the engine of their device. On BlackBerry, what you saw was what you got, with few GUI and theme changes, giving you routine, which leads to ease and productivity in how you interact with the phone, in as few clicks as possible.

Many Android users find themselves constantly deleting and adding applications and features, constantly swiping and clicking even when they are doing nothing with the phone.

As a former blackberry user who is used to the phone as a tool, both for work or play, using it when it needs to be used,this can get very annoying, and can make one very exasperated.

the cure for this is downloading a minimalistic Android Launcher like Smart Launcher or Aviate.


Utilise these minimalist launchers after having implemented all the app changes above and you will have a very smooth and productive Blackberrylike Android smartphone experience.

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Playing at Work : Gamification of the Enterprise

I was watching Sir Ken Robinson, who’s ideas on new directions for 21st century education have redirected policy on what it means to educate.

In a recent RSA talk, Ken revisits the ideas he gave at the RSA event two years ago, “Changing Education Paradigms” as below.

In the revisited talk he reiterates and adds onto the concepts he initially talked about, but which I will not go into: the talk is an hour long and then some, and is not the point of this post.

In the first five minutes of the talk he stated something that sparked a mindflame.

In a nutshell, he says the school system was a product of the industrial age, where running processes by the mill was the norm, and the mode of education was so, as its design was based on prevailing concepts of management of large numbers of people in an industry.

He said, no 21st century corporation in its right mind, would run its business like a school; where workers get in early, do one task, a bell rings, they move to  another room and move to something else, another bell rings and they all leave for break, a bell rings and they rush back to different task. Latecomers are punished.

I listened to this and thought, wait a minute.

Whilst some present day corporations may have implemented 21st century models for productivity, the majority still remain in the industrial age!

A lot of organisations have their staff clock in, work at one task for a specified time, a bell rings and you move to another task, another bell is rung and you move out for a break, if you stay to long, HR punishes you!

Appraisals, career and personal development, trust, esteem,are designed straight from the industrial age,. Thinking,creativity and judgement calls are not stimulated or encouraged.

The few, the brave, are well documented.

These are organisations that have gone all the way with providing creative spaces and freedoms for maximum productivity. Google for example, has been well documented as spearheading these environments.

Check out the following list:

1. The meals and snacks are all free. The cafeterias feature gourmet chefs that create healthy and delicious meals everyday.

2. There is a barbershop available in the office.

3. Google offers a 2k employee referral program.

4. New parents can reimburse up to $500 in takeout food.

5. Rest and recreation can be done in the office. There is a billiard table, rock climbing wall, swimming pool, beach volleyball area, video games, Foosball, table tennis equipment and roller hockey facilities.

6. Employees are allowed to bring their pets to the office.

7. Washers and dryers are available in the office. Even the detergents are for free. For those who need dry cleaning, that service is also available within the premises.

8. Decompression capsules are available for employees who want to relieve their stress. These capsules have been designed so that it would be impermeable to light and sound.

9. Employees can make use of motorized scooters to move from one part of Google’s sprawling area to another.

10. Shuttles are available to help transport employees to and from the office. These shuttles offer free Wi-Fi services.

11. You can have your car’s oil changed regularly for free in the office.

12. Car wash is also available for all car owners.

13. A modern, well equipped and state-of-the-art gym is available for free.

14. Employees can enroll in exercise classes for free.

15. Google’s mobile library offers the latest collection in books, magazines and other publications for free to its employees.

16. Employees wanting to learn a new language may enroll for fee in classes in Mandarin, Japanese, Spanish and French.

17. Private cabin areas are available in each and every floor for employees to be able to attend to their own private affairs.

18. For further relaxation, there are self-controlled massage chairs available. Aquariums are positioned strategically in front of these massage chairs to help the user achieve a tranquil state.

19. A professional masseuse is available within the premises that employees can visit anytime.

20. Saunas are available within the office.

– See more at: http://globolstaff.com/the-perks-of-working-at-google.html#sthash.NSHhVX9q.dpuf

If you are a startup, or a small-midsize organisation, and the expected results make sense to you, you may be willing to surgically integrate modern work systems,software and policies that allow creativity,productivity and high esteem, end to end.

However, the constraints of the nature of your industry may limit you; the hundred years of guilded history and guidelines around Law,Masonry, Insurance, Engineering, Medicine and similar “old” industries with looooooooooooooong legacies tend to be averse to novel ideas.

Also, not everyone is Google.

How then, do we find a middle ground?

Through technology and the tools we use.

Organisations today are almost entirely dependent on the processing of information on technology tools. Billions spend many, many hours each day staring into computer skills on emails, ERPs, CRMs ad nauseum.

If you are considering ways of integrating new-age industrial design without extensive surgery, consider gamification of your corporate processes.

Bunchball are one such company that provide solutions that enable gamification of the workplace, whatever your process.

Gamification software is transforming the way businesses engage with customers and motivate employees. By applying the same principles that inspire people to play games – achievements, status, and rewards – to websites and other online experiences, businesses can dramatically increase the size of their audiences, boost customer engagement, drive deeper employee engagement, and increase revenues.

Game mechanics can help organisations:

Here is a video of how Bunchball have implemented gamification for Salesforce.

This is, by the way, not a sponsored post. I wish it were 🙂 ( HELLLOOOO BUNCHBALL)

Here is another video that highlights the workings of gamification.

Google Glass


Google Glass as currently implemented, is a product for rich white googlegeek males.


First of all, there’s really nothing innovative, wearable tech has been in our Heinleins and Arthur C Clarkes, Orson Scott Cards,Herberts and Asimovs for several decades.

Remember the Newspad from Arthur C Clarke’s Odyssey 2001? The iPad to an I.  But I digress.

Current owners of Google Glass are white nerds.

It does not look good, so it has little to offer in terms of Appeal (read Apple)

Its also has very little to offer currently in terms of content,applications and services,what with Google taking its classic stance of their platforms being the internet of things i.e anything that doesn’t have a Google I.D can go to hell.  Google Play and open development should have deeper integration on the thing before it can be of any use.

Meaning no Twitter, Tumblr,Pinterest,Instagram.

Instead of it being a platform allowing interactions with other services, it is a Google Device, like a Facebook Phone. Sincerely. How much does that offer you in terms of value?

And currently priced at over 1,500 dollars its a totally useless device.

Until Google Glass 2 comes out, I would say, just as with Windows, wait for Service Pack 2.

The best concepts I have seen for wearable tech has been designed by Pranav Mistry whose patent concept “Sixth Sense Technology” has been bought out by Samsung.

I do hope Samsung squish Glass like a little bug.


The Truth about Piracy is that no one is getting hurt. That’s it.

Current stats via IDC posit that 70 percent of software in East Africa is pirated.

This is then computed into millions of dollars worth of losses.

I disagree. Piracy has greater advantages than losses.



Particularly in the mass market and user application layer, piracy is to mindshare what marketing and advertising used to be.

In a prior article herein, Think Big Vs Think Small, ID games came on to the scene and revolutionized the process of software distribution. They gave out their game, DOOM, for free.

ID were, at this time, already a well known company, with established gaming competence and notoriety through their earlier release, Castle Wolfenstein.

With DOOM, however, they decided to get mindshare and have the whole world know what they are and are about by dishing out DOOM FOR FREE. By word of mouth, direct one on one distribution, the end user was their marketer, vendor and consumer.

Their second release of DOOM with extras, more gore, monsters and weapons was for sale. The effect of this was a market that already knew their product very well, the mind share was incomparable with the other games, which may have been better but went through the traditional marketing and sales model of distribution through chain stores and expensive advertising.

This model led to the growth and the emanation of the freemium business model, which has been the defacto mode of software distribution for mass market end user applications:

a. Free basic Solution ( Mind share, ad revenue, interactive demo)

b. Medium Version (With more features, medium cost)

c. Pro version (With full features, premium cost)

This has sadly over time degenerated into cracks, hacks and patches.

Truth be told, the software company benefits more from the cracks and hacks in mindshare more than any direct marketing would do.

Without piracy, we would probably never know and never use most solutions.

With this structure, the end user demos the software to himself, enjoys it, refers it to others and so on and so forth, until you have an army of users hooked on your solution; you become the defacto leader in your niche.

Off the top of my head I can give a few quick examples from my experience and from those around me.

Desktop search? Avafind.

Zipping files? WinRAR.

Music Player? Winamp (Which, by the way through their notereity got bought out by AOL. Without piracy, this would have never happened.) Real Player.

Video Player? VLC /KMP/GOM .

Desktop Optimisation? CCleaner.(Which up until this year, @gbatosai and I used to read as CCCleaner )

Remote Desktop? LogMeIn, Teamviewer

Antivirus?Avast, AVG. Microsoft Security Essentials is also gaining trust.

Most of the above of the above are not heavily funded, but will be soon on the basis of their current rate of popularity through the freemium business model.


Mavens are society influencers, they influence the decisions of the people around them. The golden pot for most software companies is the enterprise customer. She with the volume licencing purchasing power, multiple sites, steady growth rate and income.

The enterprise client ensures the stability of ones business.

But the enterprise client will not buy your software if they do not KNOW your software.Or are influenced to take it on.

Thousands of dollars are spent in different ways to earn the trust of the enterprise client, to earn their badge of approval, to earn their referal and hence exponential growth.

In the emerging markets, due to a combination of factors, with low purchasing power and industrialisation challenges therein, the industry of ICT has not been with us long enough for there to be a market permeation of solution knowledge and experts to support the solutions.

One would also think that international credentials and reputation would be sufficient, but this is not true.

This is why Google , Microsoft, Intel and Cisco have invested heavily and subsidised heavily solutions for education.

The premise is that once someone is groomed in a particular solution in their formative stages, they are precluded to rely on the same in their work environment. These organisations plan to reap in the next ten, twenty years what they are sowing now.

Through mindshare, mavens are developped, they who will hold positions of power and influence in five to ten years. They will, of course, pick and use the solutions most familiar to them.

In counterpoint, the same mavens emanate enterprise piracy. If one uses a cracked version of software for personal use, and it works fine and is the decision maker in an enterprise entity, chances are that they may attempt to execute the same at the corporate layer.

The other factor shaping the decision making of mavens in emerging markets is the idea of Open Source. Coupled with the standard challenges of developing nations, the Open Source ideal has promoted the notion that SOFTWARE CAN BE GOTTEN FOR FREE.

Best Practice in solution sales is shifting from selling to IT to C-Level selling.

I however posit that at least for the next three years, software companies will still have to sell to IT.

These are the only people in the corporation with the marginal knowledge on technology to give any credible decision. Without his rubber stamp, the project will simply not move on. His word is at par with that of the C-Level executive.

The same person has dabbled with both open source and freemium applications, and thus more often than not, has the mindset that whatever solution being proferred can be obtained at a fraction of the cost, if not for free, and perhaps the only costs to be factored in are the project management implementation and training costs.

This is true for both education and government institutions, which we know are the gateways to the permeation of technology in a nation.


Embrace piracy.

View mass market software piracy as a tool of advertising. If the solution has sufficent reach, the returns from the adspaces just might be sufficient to sustain the solution.

After all, the same concept has kept free to air television afloat for decades.

At the government, education and enterprise layer, educate the mavens.

They need to know the options they have. Most do not know the variety of enterprise subsidies, free versions, home use rights, training trips, financing options, spread payments,certification opportunities that enterprise deals benefit the enterprise clients, so much so that the benifits by far outweigh piracy of the solution.

Fot them it will not be a matter of principle, they will want to secure the home use rights, the training and certifications for their own development, and all other standard benefits that most enterprise software companies offer entities.

In fact, the absence of knowledge on benefits of enterprise agreements is promoted by distributors and resellers who want to sell software solutions at the highest margins for themselves.


In the current social world, building numbers and a user base is what counts if your solution is intended for the mass market. If this is where your solution plays, PIRACY IS GOOD FOR YOU.

So shut up and watch your numbers grow.

Only good things can come from your solution being the defacto market leader in a certain user community.


You can publicly complain and issue all sorts of threats that will serve to increase the allure and danger of cracking your solution.

The result of course is more cracks and increased usage and mindshare of your product.

As for enterprise piracy?

A wise man once said, If You Want to Fight War, Preach Peace.

Education is key. Software companies should act directly with the enterprise customer (skipping the resellers and the distributors, to whom the ignorance of their clients is their gain) and educate them. More often than not, they do not know the options they have.

Policing is counter-productive and pushes back the client into the Open Source stack of solutions.


In keeping with my newfound realisation that in the next couple of years all bloggers will do their blogging from their phones, and the fact that the future is mobile, I have changed the blog appearance to the Twitter format aka P2 on wordpress.

This is the trending topic as far as gkenya is concerned, and  is nothing new.

I am already  blogging from WordPress for Blackberry.

Microblogging and Social Media: Changing our way of life

As I lie here in the dark of night having been captured by this thought, and now sending it out to the world , I realise that every human being is important.

The advent of blogging, viral media and social networking affirms this more than ever before.
This has however altered the way daily life is lived.

Each event, function,concert,holiday cannot be simply experienced without being twittered,flickred or facebooked

It is all based upon the presumption that everyone in our world is looking out and cares for what we have to say,that we are perpetually on a stage.

Or the grim thought that at our death our history and eulogy is digitally written by our own hand.
The benefits of social media far outweigh the demerits.
However this microwave era, this period of bubblegum life will soon enough come to pass.
This is, to me, made clear in three key aspects in which it has affected our lives.

The first aspect is the lightness with which it comes;a serious message that was once carried in a weighty letter is posted in a microsecond and quickly buried in a mass of meaningless garbage.
This adds in the “cry-wolf” effect, where a serious message is taken lightly. I need not remind you what happened to the boy who cried wolf.

Do you not find it annoying, the multiple media we have to deal with? Today, an afternoon after a hard days work for the typical urban person means skype,email,i-pod,facebook,twitter,flicker,newspaper,tv,radio,sms,phone calls. All this outside direct person to person conversations.
You would think that we are now better at multitasking, but surveys show that persons raised in this media explosion have extremely short attention spans.They can hardly concentrate.

What hurts me most though, is the waning of pure peace and enjoyment of beauty. One no longer basks in a the orange basket of a sunset or sunrise,plunging and losing oneself in its beauty, without first whipping out a camera to “capture”the moment, not knowing the moment was lost once the plunge wasn’t taken, and the decision to be a cold observer behind mirrored steel was made. We will then tumblr it, tweet it, facebook it, stumble upon it, sms it and by the time we are done, it will be dark or high noon,the moment lost in time.

Instead of building addictive habits around our media,we should validate and qualify the importance of our use of the same,and thereafter,use them in moderation.