My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: February 2015

Saturday, February 28, 2015

US$436 @RadiumBLE Geiger-Muller Counter - How a Pancake Tube makes a Portable Geiger-Muller Radiation Detector

“When most people think of Geiger counters, they either think of the black boxes that are only used inside nuclear reactors or nuclear submarines to check for excessive radiation, or bulky devices that are both expensive and difficult to use. Radium tries to be different – after almost a year of research, our team completed the development of a next-generation device that aims to be affordable and extremely easy to use, without compromising the quality of the provided measurements.”

Amsterdam based Russian engineer Sergey Vladimirov Commenting on his recently kickstarted Radium Geiger Muller Counter

First there was a Consumer Physics US$199 SCiO Portable IR Spectrometer that ran a successful Kickstarter Campaign for a device that could identify virtually any complex chemical compound as noted in my blog article entitled “Consumer Physics US$199 SCiO Portable IR Spectrometer – Star Trek Tricorder that can scan the Molecular World”.

Now come yet another Kickstarter campaign for a detector, this time for a portable Geiger-Muller Counter aptly named Radium as described in the article “Radium: A compact radiation detector for a post-Fukushima world”, published February 24, 2015 By Drew Prindle, DigitalTrends.

Designed by Amsterdam based Russian engineer Sergey Vladimirov, he kickstarted his campaign on Wednesday February 18th 2015. As of the day of writing of Friday February 27th 2015, his campaign has amassed some eighty four (84) backers who have pledged some US$26,846.77 (€23,979).

With a goal of US$111,959.52 (€100,000), this project might just succeed, if it could pick up a little more pace. However, if and when it does succeed, expect this product to ship in early May 2015 to late June 2015 for US$486 (€389).

What makes his kickstarter so interesting is that the Radium Geiger-Muller Counter is portable enough top fit into your pocket. This is because the Radium has a pancake shaped Geiger-Muller Tube that enables it to detect alpha, beta, gamma and X-rays.

The results are then communicated via a Bluetooth connection to your smartphone as noted in the article “Radium Easy To Use Professional Geiger Counter Hits Kickstarter (video)” published February 20, 2015 By Julian Horsey, Geeky Gadgets.

With a May 2015 shipping date, perhaps this is the kickstarter you may be looking to support. When compared to the [price of those large, hefty Geiger-Muller counters, US$436 does sound like a fair price for a state-of-the-art Geiger-Muller Counter .

You can also purchase a Developer Kit to build your own implementation of the Radium Geiger-Muller Counter to be use in everything from Drones to portable Radiation Detectors at checkpoints in a factory. This project will be of interest to hobbyists and persons concerned about Radiation in their Food and I for one love this project to bits

Here's the Link

Friday, February 27, 2015

@Microsoft supports asm.js JavaScript subset – How C and C++ 3D Web Apps run Faster and support Windows 10 IoT push

“Over the last few months we’ve taken a close look at asm.js as a technology, related technologies, and what they entail for the Web at large. While challenging to write by hand, asm.js is leveraged principally by transpiling C/C++ code to run on the Web platform, utilizing technologies such as WebGL and Web Audio. Asm.js is a clear step towards enabling near-native performance for the Web platform, which is why we’re excited to bring it to Chakra in an upcoming release”

Microsoft Chakra team commenting on Wednesday February 18th 2015 announcement of the asm.js JavaScript subset in their Chakra JavaScript Engine for Windows 10 as well as Internet Explorer 10 Browser 

Folks, it appears that hell has frozen over with this recently announced deal involving Microsoft and Mozilla Firefox.

Microsoft has finally endorsed the use of asm.js, a Java-based 3D Accelerator for Web Applications created by the Mozilla Foundation as stated in the article “Microsoft’s JavaScript Engine Will Soon Support Mozilla’s Asm.js”, published February 18, 2015 by Frederic Lardinois, Techcrunch.

So says the Press Release published Wednesday February 18th 2015 on the Microsoft MSDN Blog as noted on “Bringing asm.js to the Chakra JavaScript Engine in Windows 10”, published Wednesday, February 18, 2015 2:31 PM, MSDN Blog.

Microsoft plans to use the asm.js JavaScript subset in their Chakra JavaScript Engine that'll be used on Windows 10 as well as the Internet Explorer 11 Browser. Developers will love this, as the asm.js JavaScript subset makes Web Apps, particularly 3D Games run much faster, almost as if installed on the Computer’s Operating System.

Microsoft's Chakra JavaScript Engine supports asm.js JavaScript subset – How 3D Game Web Apps in C and C++ will run Faster

Because it’s a subset of JavaScript, it has all the benefits of the parent but with the ability to run much faster than full JavaScript. Thus, with Microsoft’s support in Windows 10 and Internet Explorer 11, expect to see more HD Video and Video Games Web Apps being developed for Browsers that support the asm.js JavaScript subset.

This move appears to have been initiated by Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and is a positive move towards making Microsoft becoming more supportive of Web Standards for rendering Websites, such as HTML5, much to the delight of bloggers such as myself.

Now that Windows 10 and Internet Explorer 11 will have asm.js JavaScript subset support, Developers can use the Emscripten compiler to compile C/C++ code into JavaScript. This makes it possible for programs written in C/C++ code to run on any Browser that already supports JavaScript, allowing them to focus on the work of coding instead of having to learn a new language all over again.

This means a lot of 3D Games written in C/C++ Code can be easily ported to JavaScript and run very little lag or distortion, albeit the games will be about 1.5x slower than the original games in C/C++ code. That's still better than running the game in its original C/C++ code as a Web App, which would show quite a bit of lag and stuttering. 

Microsoft's Chakra JavaScript Engine supports asm.js JavaScript subset - How asm.js JavaScript subset might support Windows Developer Program for IoT.

asm.js JavaScript subset support was a long time coming as noted in the article ​“Microsoft joins with Mozilla in bid for fast Web apps”,  February 19, 2015 2:25 AM PST by Stephen Shankland, CNET News.

Microsoft support via its integration into the Chakra JavaScript Engine means that the Microsoft Internet Explorer 11 will be supporting a Web Standard that Firefox, Chrome and Safari already support, making Developers squeal with delight as their Web apps will run the same on all Browsers.

Also, unlike Google, Dart and Native Client, asm.js JavaScript subset supports JavaScript on older and newer Browsers.

Google know this, hence the reason why their Project Turbofan is actively involved in integrating asm.js JavaScript subset into the next build of Google Chrome 41, with the expected boos in terms of faster web Apps, to quote the Turbofan team: “We're already beta testing TurboFan in Chrome 41, which significantly improves the performance of numeric code like asm.js. One could consider this issue 'mostly fixed.' We are actively experimenting with the policy to activate TurboFan, and one signal is the 'use asm' directive" that Web pages use to invoke asm.js”.

It also opens up the possibility that Developers for IoT Applications can use Windows Developer Program for IoT baked into Windows 10 to interact with Web Apps running on the asm.js JavaScript subset to create IoT Products, especially using the new US$35 Raspberry Pi 2 Model B as noted in my blog article entitled “US$35 Raspberry Pi 2 Model B to run Windows 10 - Why Windows Developer Program for IoT is Microsoft 's IoT Push”.

So if you are a Developer of Web App Games in C/C++ Code or even have an interest in developing IoT Applications, this latest freezing over of Hell thanks to this unlikely and unexpected partnership with Mozilla Firefox will make developing Applications for Microsoft 10, Microsoft Internet Explorer 11 and eventually Google Chrome as easy as it is currently for the Mozilla Firefox Browser.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

@SKMobilesInLC wins Patent Case against @Viber – Why 4G LTE and VoLTE will have to compete against VoIP Apps

“The ban will be imposed both on the Android and Apple iOS platforms. We have not yet heard from Viber whether it will bring the case to the higher court. The lawsuit came as Viber evidently infringed our patent rights”

Spokespersons for SK Telecom commenting on their Patent Case win against Viber with regards to bypassing their Network

VoIP and IM (Instant Messenger) App Viber is in big trouble in South Korea.

They’ve lost a case against South Korean Telecom Provider SK Telecom with regards to synching smartphone Contact list and associates Call and Messaging data into the Viber App as noted in the article “Viber Faces Ban In Korea As SK Telecom Wins Potentially Wide-Ranging Patent Suit”, published Feb 24, 2015 by Jon Russell, Techcrunch.

Basically, this ruling simply means that Viber, which terminates calls made through its app on Local and International landlines and mobile phone numbers, could potentially be banned from operating in South Korea.

Good to note that SK Telecom isn’t saying that the popularity of the VoIP App that also does IM (Instant Messaging) is cutting into their Voice revenues. By going after the obvious patent infringement, it makes it easier to mask their true intentions as noted in the coy statements by SK Telecom in the article “South Korean mobile operator wins patent suit against Viber”, published February 23, 2015 By Eileen Yu, ZDNet.

This is hauntingly similar to the complaint by Telecom Provider Digicel with regards to Viber and Nimbuzz clogging their Network with Voice Traffic and not paying to Terminate Voice Calls as noted in my blog article entitled “Digicel blocks VoIP Services Viber and Nimbuzz in Haiti - Digicel losing International Calling Revenue but will be worse when WhatsApp comes”.

SK Mobile wins Patent Case against Viber – Why 4G LTE and VoLTE will have to compete against VoIP Apps

The truth is, in BOTH cases, the Telecom Providers were losing revenue due to users of the App being able to terminate calls without paying Toll, cross-connection or Termination charges to complete calls on Local and International landlines and mobile phone numbers.

By going after a patent and not their obvious bypass, they're basically avoiding looking anti-competitive in the eyes of the public while potentially setting up a situation with this vague patent infringement where they can use the case as a legal precedent to go after other VoIP Providers.

So expect Kakao's KakaoTalk, with some 37 million users to be in their Crosshairs, with Viber, being much smaller fish, as a mere test run to see if going after this vague patent infringement can also be used against KakaoTalk.

Based on a similar case here in Jamaica with Telecom Provider Digicel and LIME where Minister of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining Phillip Paulwell gave the Telecom Providers the green light to block VoIP that weren't registered to operate like normal Telecom Providers as noted in my blog article entitled “Minister Paulwell says VoIP Providers must Register to Terminate - Why WhatsApp may no longer be Free as IXP by January 2015, MNP by May 2015”.

But how long will this last?

With 4G LTE Networks being deployed globally, giving more bandwidth for these Data hungry VoIP Apps to play as argued in the case of WhatsApp going VoIP in my blog article entitled “WhatsApp VoIP Calling in Second Quarter of 2014 - WhatsApp kills International Calling at the Advent of Facetime-eqsue Premium Video VoIP Calling on smartphones”, how long can the Telecom Providers delay the inevitable?

After all, their popularity might now spark persons withdrawing their services. But they can complain to their relative Regulatory and Consumer Affairs advocates with regards to a lack of Network Neutrality. That is to say, the Telecom Providers are deciding what Traffic can be on their Network.

Such protest aren’t vocal now, but will become so once VoLTE is introduced and it becomes clear that the Telecom Providers are trying to re-ensnare customers in their Metered Billing Services again,. Despite having paid for their Data to do with as they believe they have a right to do.

A case worthy watching......worlds away in the South Korean Telecom Market!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Google Launches @android at Work – How Google’s BYOD for @google @android 5.0 Lollipop will win over Corporate and Enterprise World

“More than a billion people are bringing smartphones in their pockets to the workplace”

Director of product manager at Google, Rajen Sheth, commenting in a Press Release on the launch of Android at Work 

Google is now taking aim at the Corporate and Enterprise World, where the money is more lucrative and the lure of contracts will help monetize their projects.

Their latest initiative, launched Wednesday February 25th 2015, is called Android at Work and aims to make Google Android robust and acceptable enough on your smartphone as the trend of BYOD (Bring your Own Device) continues to trend as noted in the article “With 'Android for Work,' Google hopes you'll use your phone on the job”, published February 25, 2015 11:00 AM PST, by Richard Nieva, CNET News.  

By making a work –flavored version of Google Android, they’re getting Google Android ready to work with Google Glass, which has also restructured for the Corporate and Enterprise World by killing off their Google Glass Explorer version as noted in my blog article entitled “@googleglass Explorer Program ends – Google Glass going Enterprise as Cheaper Version coming against Microsoft Hololens”.

This is gonna get interesting, as it suggests that Google Glass might be given to Corporate and Enterprise workers along with Android at work, specifically if they work in Technical fields such as Engineering or Medicine or even in the Military, such as the US Army or Navy!

Android at Work – Labled Apps means Work and Play on separate Homepages on the same smartphone

Android at Work differs from Facebook's approach at making a Work-Centric version of their Social Network called Facebook at Work.

Facebook at Work is really Facebook but loaded on a Server with loads of Facebok productivity tools and Apps accessible via on you company’s Private  Cloud via their intranet using Facebook at Work Apps as explained in my blog article entitled “Facebook at Work goes Corporate and Enterprise - 1.3 billion Active Monthly users is Riding BYOD Trend via Familiarity”.

Instead, with Android at Work, being as it's the OS that resides in your smartphone, you are given separate user profiles for your worklife and the other for your personal life. But instead of having to log in and out of profiles as you'd do in a Microsoft Windows environment, you instead toggle between the two (2) accounts in real time to access your Google Docs, Calendar, Forms and other Productivity Apps specifically tailored for Work

This is done by making the Apps co-exist on your Google Android screen with labels to identify which is which. So your work Apps are labeled with orange briefcase badges with the title indicating that they are for work e.g. “Work Mail” or “Work Chrome”.

I suspect that most workers would then place their work Apps on one Homepage and their play app on another Homepage, thereby allowing their work and play Apps to live side by side. No need to lug around that ugly company Blackberry; now both your work and play life can live on the same smartphone.

Android at Work – How Google’s BYOD for Google Android 5.0 Lollipop will be a hit in the Corporate and Enterprise World

They've even revamped the Google Play Store, making it an enterprise-ready version that allows IT staff to make their own Apps and deploy and manage their Apps. These Apps are being developed in collaboration with companies such as SAP, Citrix, Samsung, Sony, Box and Adobe, so they’ll be ready-to-work straight out of the Enterprise version of the Google Play Store….or is that the Google Work Store.

Most notable of their collaborators is Samsung, with whom they've collaborated to bake aspects of Samsung KNOX, the South Korean company Secure Enterprise Security Platform as explained in my Geezam blog article entitled “AnyConnect for Samsung Knox is a Cisco Systems partnership for Secure VPN Communications”.

Google is also teaming up with Blackberry, whose BES (BlackBerry Enterprise Server) is currently the Corporate and Enterprise Security Gold standard when it comes to VPN (Virtual Private Network) Security while working in the Cloud as noted in the article “Google's Android for Work Wants to Handle Your Business Data”, published FEBRUARY 25, 2015 03:40PM EST BY CHLOE ALBANESIUS, PC Magazine.

In fact, Google, Samsung and Blackberry are all bating on the same team it seems with the Corporate and Enterprise contracts being their main prize as noted in the article “BlackBerry Launches BES12, Samsung Knox Support”, published NOVEMBER 13, 2014 01:30PM EST BY DAMON POETER, PC Magazine.

Thanks to these collaboration, Google Android 5.0 Lollipop is Corporate and Enterprise Ready as explained in the article “Android L builds on Samsung's Knox fortifications”, published July 22, 2014 7:59 AM PD by Seth Rosenblatt, CNET News.

Google had announced Android at Work some eight (8) months ago, around the same time they’d announced their plans for Google Android 5.0 Lollipop as noted in the article “Google Releases Work Tools Designed for Android Phones”, published Feb 25, 2015, 3:09 PM ET By MICHAEL LIEDTKE, ABC News.

Google clearly is gunning after the same Corporate and Enterprise users that Apple and IBM are aiming for with their IBMMobileFirst for iOS as noted in my blog article entitled “Apple and IBM for IBM MobileFirst for iOS – How Apple with IBM Cloud Computing indicates Apple-Microsoft-IBM-Google Deal Possible in the Future”.

So will Google's latest initiative succeed?

It will once they can convince people to upgrade to Google Android 5.0 Lollipop as they're no longer providing security solutions for smartphones users running older versions of Google Android as noted in my Geezam blog article entitled “Android Browser Security unfixed as Google wants you to Upgrade to Lollipop”.

Once they can solve the fragmentation by getting customer to buy into the latest version of Google Android, the Corporate and Enterprise world will take Google's commitment to Security more seriously.

How to use @Gmail to do Email Marketing - How to do Mail Merge using @GoogleDocs SpreadSheets and Gmail

Good day to all my fellow Bloggers, especially those doing their own SEO (Search Engine Optimization).

If like me you do a lot of email Marketing to boost traffic on your blog, sending email is a must. Twitter is very good at doing this, especially when you marshal the power of TweetDeck as explained in my blog article entitled “Twitter rolls out Group DM and 30 Second Vines - How TweetDeck's Scheduled Tweets now with Group DM is addictive”.

Mail Merge, that convenient feature in the Microsoft Office 365 that’s now mobile on the Microsoft Office Word, Excel and Powerpoint apps since November 2014 as noted in my blog article entitled “Microsoft Office 365 goes Freemium Model - One Becomes Three as Word, Excel and PowerPoint with US$6.99 monthly to remove Restrictions”, makes it easy to make multiple letters.

However, that’s for printing.

Sending them individually via email in Gmail, especially to more than one hundred (100) people, is a painful chore. To make it worse, Google has restriction on how many emails you can send in bulk per day, roughly one thousand (1000) in BCC (Blind Carbon Copy) with a maximum of five hundred (500) email addresses per email. Sending that many emails individually will be very difficult for you in Gmail!

So why not automate your email marketing campaign with a simple script as explained “Gmail mass email tips: Avoid the spammy look with the personalized touch”, published Feb 18, 2015 3:30 AM by Michael Ansaldo, PCWorld?

Yes folks, this is yet another How-to or DIY (Do it yourself) article with lots of pictures, so grab a pack of National Bakery Cream Crackers with Eve Guava Jelly and sip on some of that Blue Mountain Peak Instant Coffee!

How to use Gmail to do Email Marketing - How to do Mail Merge using Google Sheets and Gmail

Before you start, it's good to note that you'll be restricted to one hundred (100) emails per script. Still, if you have multiple Gmail accounts, you can maximize on this advantage and thereby achieve your email Marketing Strategy.

To utilize a free mail merge script for Gmail, the instructions are pretty straightforward, really! First, log into your Google Drive Account. Then click New then Google Sheets on the Left sidebar to create a spreadsheet.

Give it a descriptive name as this spreadsheet will host the emails addresses that are a part of your email marketing campaign. Go to the menu bar and select Add-ons then Get add-ons to go to the Google’s add-on store.

Type in “mail merge” script in the Search bar and press Enter to begin Search for Mail Merge scripts.

Click the Free button to select a free Mail Merge app and select Yet Another Mail Merge Script.

Select the “Free” button on the Yet Another Mail Merge Script to get the free version.

A pop-up window requesting various permissions to access Google Sheets, Contacts and Gmail for the Public Mail Merge script built into Google Drive will open. Scroll down and press the button Allow to give the script access; fret not, it’s perfectly safe!

Click Accept and a pop-up will appear under Add-ons on the menu bar after the script has been installed.

Click Add-ons then select Yet Another Mail Merge and then Import contacts from a group in your Gmail Account.

You'll see a window listing all the contact groups in your Gmail Account. Note here that you do have the option to go into Gmail and create a new group with the contacts needed in your mail merge. 

Click Import contacts to populate your spreadsheet with these emails. This'll take awhile and now would be a good time to eat some National Bakery Cream Crackers with Eve Guava Jelly and sip on some of that Blue Mountain Peak Instant Coffee!

Then you need to draft the mail letter in your Gmail Account to Mail Merge. Log into your Gmail Account and click Compose creating a regular email with title. Once you've composed your email, anywhere within the email that you desire to have data from the columns in the spreadsheet to appear type the script “$%headername%”.

For example, if in your spreadsheet, you have a column that has the name “Firstname” and you want the first name data to appear at a certain point within your letter, type the script “$%Firstname%” so as to merge that data from the spreadsheet to that point in your email.

After completing that, then go back to the Google Sheets Spreadsheet click on Add-ons and select Yet Another Mail Merge and then Start mail merge. Select your email from the Drafts drop-down menu.

Note: An interesting feature that will be of interest to email marketer’s is the option to Track the users to see if they opened your emails. You can enable this by checking the Track Emails Opened box.

A test email will generate an EMAIL_SENT data tuple in the column beside each contact. If you plan to resent multiple mail merges on the same spreadsheet, remember to clear the EMAIL_SENT data tuple in the column beside each contact.

Oh, and enjoy your National Bakery Cream Crackers with Eve Guava Jelly and sip on some of that Blue Mountain Peak Instant Coffee!

Happy email Marketing to all my fellow Bloggers!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

@googleglass Explorer Program as they go Enterprise against @Microsoft @Hololens

 The death of Google Glass has been greatly exaggerated despite the words of the article “Dear Google Glass, bye for now (and maybe forever)”, published January 17, 2015 4:18 PM PST by Chris Matyszczyk, CNET News, Google Glass is far from dead.

Google halted sales of the US$1,500 Google Glass Explorer edition on Monday January 19th 2015 as stated in the article “Google Will Stop Selling Glass Next Week”, published Jan. 15, 2015 by Victor Luckerson, Time.

So says the Google Glass Press Release entitled “We’re Graduating from Google Labs

The Google Glass Team has also been relocated from under the Google X Project to become its own separate project under the leadership of Google Glass Manager Ivy Ross as noted in the article “Google Glass sales halted but firm says kit is not dead”, published 15 January 2015, BBC News.

More interestingly, Google Glass’s Manager will be reporting to Tony Fadel, the magician behind the Apple iPod and then his own company Nest that makes the self-learning Thermostat of the same name and the Nest Protect, the equally annoying Internet connected Fire Alarm as stated in the article “Google Glass gets a new boss, the man behind the iPod and Nest”, published January 15, 2015 10:21 AM PST by Richard Nieva, CNET News.

Naturally of course with such shifting, there will be shakeups and movements among Google’s Many Engineers as they get transferred between departments as detailed in the article “REPORT: There's an engineer shakeup happening within Google Glass”, published FEB. 23, 2015, 9 by LISA EADICICCO, Business Insider.

Google Glass Explorer Program ends – Glass now separate from Google X Labs as Enterprise take interest

And according to Tony Fadell, this time there will be no public testing of Google Glass, exposing the company to ridicule or Explorers to harassment about invasion of Privacy, even though smartphones have cameras with video capability.

Irony, as with smartphones, people literally spy on themselves and allow social Networks to collect information of their interests, who they’ve been with and their actual location at any particular point in time. These are the main reasons why I personally dislike smartphones as noted in my blog article entitled “The Reason why I don't like Smartphones - Location Privacy and How to disable Location Services on Android and iOS”.

Apparently most people forgot that the US$1,500 price tag was aimed at persons who wanted to be on the bleeding Edge of Tech and it really was for the Public to try out, not necessarily as a finished product.

After all, the glasses aren’t stylish enough, hence why they took Luxottica  to make it more prĂȘt-a-porter as noted in my blog article entitled “Google Glass partners with Luxottica to design Google Glasses for 2015 Launch - Google Glass now on the Path to going Mainstream with US$199 Glasses”.

So from here on out, they’ll be strictly tested by Developers as well as their growing list of business partners, who have already found the product useful as noted in the article “Google Glass 2 prototypes reportedly already in the hands of developers”, published Feb 23, 2015 at 9:45 PM By Jacob Siegal, BGR

Instead, the Google at Work initiative will continue, with an aim to introduce Google Glass in the workplace, where it actually has more use among US Army personnel and Medical doctors.

This shift towards focusing on Enterprise customers may be the reason why they decided to get Intel as their Processor manufacturer to guarantee their supply as noted in my blog article entitled “Google Glass with Intel Chips - US$199 Google Glass Plus coming as Intel Core M 14nm Processor shrinks Battery for US Army and Medical Doctor Demand”.

Google Glass for Consumers will Return - More Apps, Cheaper price to compete with Microsoft HoloLens

All of this movement within Google fits with the idea that they’re getting a huge demand for orders of Google Glass from Enterprise customers. Google had to take their focus away from their Explorer Program to focus on making Glass for these clients, who apparently want a lot of them in very lucrative long term deals.

Developers will develop more Apps and cheaper versions will herald the return of Google Glass to consumers as predicted in the article “Google's Teller says Glass and other wearables need to be cheaper”, published November 17, 2014 10:53 AM PST by Richard Nieva, CNET News and “Google Glass - a fascinating failure?”, published 27 May 2014, BBC News.

When this will be is a bit of an unknown, but they’ll definitely have to return soon, as the competition is heating up now that the Microsoft HoloLens seem to be making all the right moves towards VR (Virtual Reality) as noted in the article “Microsoft HoloLens Gets Face Wearables Right”, published 1/28/2015 by Patrick Moorhead, Forbes.

And yes, it will replace the smartphone as I’d predicted in my blog article entitled

So Google Glass isn’t dead……It’s just shifting Gears from being a consumer product to being something that the Enterprise World and the US Military always wanted: a True Wearable computer.

Here’s the link:

Monday, February 23, 2015

@WhatsApp Testing Free Voice Calling - Why Free Local, International Calling over 4G LTE may soon be Possible

“We are rolling out a voice calling beta test to a small number of people, but we don't have anything more to share right now”

WhatsApp spokesperson commenting on reports of Persons being able to make WhatsApp Calls

WhatsApp, which Facebook purchased back in February 2014 for some US$19 billion as note in my blog article entitled “Facebook acquires WhatsApp for US$19 Billion - CEO Jan Koum Revelry will fade once faced with BBM and Google+, Guardians of the Galaxy of Mobile Social Networks”  is gearing up to make either Easter or the Summer of 2015 the Year of Free VoIP Calling went mainstream over 3G and 4G LTE Networks.

This as they’ve begun rolling out WhatsApp Voice Calling on Monday February 23rd 2015 in an apparent invitation based test as reported in the article “WhatsApp voice calling feature appears on Android handsets for few hours”, published February 23, 2015 by Nicole Fernandes , Deccan Chronicle.

WhatsApp hasn't officially mentioned this feature on their WhatsApp blog as they'd done the recent rollout of WhatsApp for Desktop called WhatsApp Web computers as noted in my blog article entitled “WhatsApp comes to the Desktop via the Browser - Why Desktop on Laptop and PC is Mobile Social Network's Last Frontier”.

WhatsApp Calling for Free – Selected Beta Testers calling a small invite-only list for Free

Apparently activated since Friday February 20th 2015 as reported in the article “WhatsApp starts rolling out voice calling feature to Android users”, published Feb 20, 2015, 11.54PM IST by Anupam Saxena, Times of India, it seems to work on the basis of seeding a select few users with the ability to make Voice Calls to a small number of other people.

On receiving the feature, these selected persons, basically beta testers, can call a select number of friends within WhatsApp for free. If you receive a call from someone who has WhatsApp Calling feature activated, you're prompted to update your WhatsApp to the latest version, which happens to be WhatsApp build (2.11.508).

You can only call other WhatsApp users and not Local or International Landline or Mobile numbers, even for a price or even free, in a manner similar to MagicApp and Call+ as reported in my MICO Wars Blog article entitled “How to make Free International Calls to Landlines and Mobiles Anywhere in the World”, as that' not being offered.

Interestingly, though, those WhatsApp-only call to other users via 3G or 4G are free and even then, only a limited number of WhatsApp users that have updated the latest version of WhatsApp.

For the rest of us unlucky souls, WhatsApp Calling is a feature inside of the latest build of WhatsApp. It's just disabled as WhatsApp hasn't announced widespread availability of this feature as yet on their WhatsApp blog

WhatsApp Voice Call Testing – Reddit user enables it by accident on Google Android Lollipop

Their much promised Voice Calling capability is currently being tested based on a report send by Reddit user Pradnesh Patil aka pradnesh07, apparently based in India, as reported in the article WhatsApp starts rolling out calling feature, published January 31st, 2015, 17:08 by Prasad, GSM Arena and “WhatsApp begins rollout of voice call functionality”, published February 2, 2015 4:45 PM PST by Nic Healey, CNET News.

Using a sideloaded version of WhatsApp build (2.11.508) on a Nexus 5 running Google Android 5.0 Lollipop, he was able to accidentally evoke the Voice Calling Functionality, even taking a few screenshots.

He also posted a video as proof that he’d encountered WhatsApp Calling in the Wild!

Other Reddit users, also based in India, have duplicated his efforts and have stumbled across Screens that show a new tab for Calls next to the tabs for Chats and Contacts as shown in the picture below.

WhatsApp Testing Voice Calling – Basic Features that need tweaking

This appeared to be an initial test by WhatsApp that's evoked by sideloading the latest build of WhatsApp onto a smartphone running Google Android 5.0 Lollipop. Possibly the functionality is already built into the latest update of WhatsApp, but only activated if you have a Google Android 5.0 Lollipop smartphone?

Google Android 5.0 Lollipop, the latest version of Google Android coming to a Samsung, LG, Sony, OnePlus, Asus, Nvidia, Android One, Motorola, Google Nexus and Google Play Editions smartphones near you as reported in the article “ANDROID 5.0 LOLLIPOP UPDATE ARRIVES ON THE T-MOBILE SAMSUNG GALAXY S5”, published February 18, 2015 By Andy Boxall, Digitaltrends.

So far the sporadic reports suggest that WhatsApp Voice Calling offers several Standard Call handling features:

1.         Speakerphone setting
2.         Mute button
3.         Texting while on a Call (Not sure how that's possible)

WhatsApp hasn’t sorted out all the kinks as yet. But they’re close.

WhatsApp has now begun Testing Voice Calling – 3G and 4G LTE Voice Calling is possible

Pradnesh Patil claims the feature gets switched on when a user that has it tries to call another user.

However, the WhatsApp calling feature is apparently being rolled on a Test Basis, with a select few possibly receiving invitations to become Beta-testers for WhatsApp since.

So far, individuals have reported trying to use WhatsApp Calling only for calls to go unanswered as it may not be enable for everyone, even if they have the latest version of WhatsApp. It also appears that you can only call other WhatsApp  users and not Local or International Landlines or Mobile numbers.

If WhatsApp is eventually allowed to make calls to landlines and Mobile Numbers, they'd have to compete against such established juggernauts like Google Voice or Google Hangouts that allow users to make International calls for mere pennies as noted in my blog article entitled “Google merges Google Voice into Google+ Hangouts - How to make Free US and Canada Calls with Google Voice in Hangouts App”.

WhatsApp Calling unlikely over 4G LTE – Digicel and LIME now have the right to block unregistered VoIP

That would be interesting, as it’s unlikely that Telecom Provider in the US of A and anywhere in the world would allow WhatsApp to do that for Free.

Most likely, American Telecom Providers and the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) would have to force WhatsApp and all other VoIP IM (Instant Messaging) apps with VoIP capability to register as Telecom Providers.

This is once they reach a certain critical mass and account for a significant amount of traffic on their 4G LTE Network as was the case in Jamaica recently with Digicel and LIME.

Both Telecom Provider used this argument along with the fact that VoIP Apps Viber and Nimbuzz were terminating Voice Calls without paying Interconnection Toll charges and thus promptly blocked them in July 2014 as reported in my blog article entitled “LIME and Digicel blocking all VoIP Services - How Telecom Providers can make money from Regularizing Paid VoIP Services

This as WhatsApp would be basically functioning like a MVNO (Mobile Virtual Network Operator).

WhatsApp Calling to Local or International Landlines or Mobile numbers – VoLTE competitor needed

In doing so, they’d be following on the lead of Telecom Provider Digicel and Telecom Provider LIME who’d recently won the right in December 2014 to block VoIP Calling on their Network as reported in my blog article entitled “Minister Paulwell says VoIP Providers must Register to Terminate - Why WhatsApp may no longer be Free as IXP by January 2015, MNP by May 2015”.

And as my article suggests, this would mean that any such WhatsApp Calling Feature, be it from WhatsApp to WhatsApp or WhatsApp to Local or International Landlines or Mobile numbers, would only be possible if WhatsApp is a registered Telecom Provider in Jamaica!

Our American counterparts would most likely follow suit, as potentially, such a large VoIP Network with almost 700 million Actively Monthly users as reported in my blog article entitled “WhatsApp reaches 700 million Active Monthly Users - Double Blue Checkmarks from China, Japan and South Korea and Russia with Love” would result in them losing significant revenue!

Facing such resistance, WhatsApp may be initially told that they can only make VoIP Calls over Wi-Fi and not 3G and 4G Networks!

But as VoLTE (Voice Over LTE) is now active on Telecom Networks such as Verizon and AT&T as noted in my blog article entitled “Digicel and LIME going VoLTE - Why GSM extinct and Spectrum reused for M2M Services in HD Audio and Video Caribbean VoLTE-Age” many Americans may soon be clamoring for HD Voice and Video Calling alternatives to those offered by the Telecom Provider.

Especially now that they have the choice to unlock their smartphones and move to whichever of the five (5) Carriers and the myriad of other registered MVNO’s that operate in the US of A as noted in my blog article entitled “US Carriers must Carrier Unlock smartphones as of Wednesday February 11th 2015 – How Americans can get their smartphones Carrier unlocked”.

WhatsApp Voice Calling with Video Calling capability over 3G and 4G LTE Networks with the capability to call Local or International Landlines or Mobile numbers, albeit facing initial resistance, will eventually be accepted. This as the FCC will not stand-by and watch Telecom Provider create another monopoly, this time based on 4G LTE Networks!

For now, WhatsApp will continue testing WhatsApp Calling…….as Everything is Possible.