Friday, April 27, 2012


So if you are a beginner in WordPress or you want a quick cheat sheet on what plugins to install here are some of my recommendations:
  1. Google XML Sitemaps:This plugin is a must. It will automatically generate a sitemap of your WordPress blog. As a beginner in WordPress this is very helpful because you won't have to deal with any code or any xml generation to get the Sitemap file. If you don't know what the sitemap.xml file is used for I will explain to you. The sitemap.xml file will allow your blog to reveal a Site Map of all your internal pages so that search engines such as google can get a deep analysis of every single page in your site and index you appropriately. This is an essential plugin when beginning a new WordPress blog.
  2. iRobots SEOThe robots.txt file gives instructions to the search engines on what to index and what to skip (for example you don't want your wp-admin zone to be indexed). This essential plugin will be great for a WordPress beginner or new blog since it will have default setups that will take care of the most important variables in a properly written robots.txt file.
  3. Google AnalyticatorThis is a very simple but efficient plugin to install on a new wordpress site. It will allow you to connect your Google Analytics website as well as to setup easily some options for it. Have you ever not wanted to track your own visits to your WordPress blog? This essential plugin for wordpress will allow you to block yourself easily from the settings page of the plugin once installed.
  4. Yoast WordPress SEOThis is one of the best plugins I have found lately for Search engine optimization. Definitely a must install in a new WordPress blog or website. This plugin will provide you the essential options to adjust how your website is exposed to search engines. It will also provide you a very intuitive way of adding your meta description, title tag and keywords to any post while at the same time giving you advise on how to do it appropriately. I used other plugins before and discovered this one recently and as a geek I can tell you its a fundamental plugin to install.
  5. Akismet
    This comes with WordPress but many people just ignore it. This will give you a protective barrier against spam comments on your website. To activate it you just go to Akismet and register. After you do this they will provide you an API key that you will be able to insert in the Akismet plugin settings
  6. Permalink EditorPermalinks are the URL of your blog posts or pages. WordPress by default lets you setup a standard or dynamic structure. However to get further customization options, this plugin is beautiful. It will enable a "Customize" button beside your URL when editing blog posts. Have you ever wanted to change the category in which the URL is appearing or just change the text? This plugin will allow you to do that easily.
  7. Comprehensive Google Map Plugin (Extra but not essential)This is not for every blog, but just in case you want to use a map in your site to show your location, business venues or any other thing its a personally favorite one. I install this in almost every blog I setup in WordPress since the plugin will be eventually used at some point.
That's it. I was talking about essential plugins not the top 5, 10 or 15 WordPress plugins. These plugins will allow any beginner to have its blog setup with proper SEO, sitemap, robot file and other options to make the most of its content.
If you are a setting up your new site, I would also suggest you read these posts as well:
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WordPress Optimization Tips and Tricks for Better Performance and Speed

Is your WordPress blog performing at it’s best? How quickly does the page load? Is it sluggish? Your website’s performance is one of the key factors in ensuring that the visitors are having a good experience with your site. So I personally think it is worthwhile to spend some time tuning/optimizing the site for performance. In this article I have listed various tips and tricks on how to speed up a WordPress Site.
Before diving into the optimization tips and tricks I recommend measuring the current performance of the site so you have some benchmarking figures to compare against after you make the changes and see how it has affected the performance.

How to Measure the Performance of a Site

1. I use the Page Speed tool from Google to measure performance and try to achieve a score of 85+ out of 100. Page speed has a browser addon to measure the performance of a site. Page Speed analyzes web pages and suggests ways to improve their performance based on a set of rules for high performance web pages.
2. You can also use YSlow Firefox addon to measure the page load time of a site. YSlow is a Firefox add-on integrated with the Firebug web development tool. So to use YSlow you will have to get the Firebug addon and then install the YSlow addon.
The site in question takes about 23 secons to load which is not a very good page loading time. Some optimization could help!
3. The number of database queries a webpage makes to load the page have an effect on the page load time. You can use the following piece of code in the footer of your theme to find out how many database queries a page is making:
<?php echo get_num_queries(); ?> queries in <?php timer_stop(1); ?> seconds.
Make sure the webpage is not making any unnecessary database queries.
4. You can use the website speed tester to find out how fast your site loads.
Website Speed Tester
5. You can also use the stopwatch on to test how long it takes to load a webpage.

Basic WordPress Site Optimization Tips and Tricks

  • Upgrade to the latest wordpress release (you should be doing this for security reasons anyway)
  • Use W3 Total Cache WordPress plugin (Forget WP Super Cache). W3 Total Cache is just awesome… even I use it :)
  • Minimize simple unnecessary PHP queries. For example, instead of using <?php get_bloginfo(‘wpurl’); ?> just replace it with your wordpress installation URL so the browser can simply read it instead of making a query.
  • Load javascripts in the footer (The golden rule – CSS on top, javascript on bottom)
  • Kill some plugins that are unnecesary or doesn’t add much value to your site (Disable or delete these plugins)
  • Optimize and Repair your Database from myPhpAdmin. You can use the Optimize DB plugin that does this for you.
  • Check your theme Code (Use valid HTML code)
  • Get a Good hosting

Intermediate to Advanced Optimization Tips

  • Keep your page sizes less than 100kb. Do not use too many unnecessary images and video on a page. Always compress the images appropriately.
  • Combine css files into one big css file (One 50kb file loads a lot faster than five 10kb files)
  • Combine javascripts into one big file.
  • Reduce the number of dynamic PHP and http calls (Use subdomains to share the load)
  • Use external scripts. Instead of placing tons of code in your header.php file, use external scripts. This allows the browser to cache the script so it won’t have to read it for every other page.
  • Add far future expires header to images, CSS and javascript files (How to Add far future expires header).
  • Don’t use ETags unless you are taking advantage of it (How to configure ETags).

Thursday, April 19, 2012

First Intel-powered smartphone to be launched in India

Intel has confirmed details of the first smartphone to be powered by one of its processors.

The XOLO X900, made by the Indian manufacturer Lava, will go on sale on 23 April priced at about 22,000 rupees (£265).

Lava has teamed up with Indian retail chain Croma to distribute the device across the country.

The move follows Intel's previous failed attempt to break into the smartphone market.

A tie-up with manufacturer LG in 2010 fell flat, with no models going into production.

Meanwhile, chips designed by British-based ARM and the American firm Qualcomm now dominate the market.

Details of Intel-powered smartphones made by Motorola Mobility and Lenovo are expected soon.

Hyper threading
The chip maker announced the partnerships at the Consumer Electronics Show in Barcelona in January.

Intel's tie-up with Motorola Mobility is seen as most significant as the company is in the process of being purchased by Google.

The Atom-based chip promises more efficient battery consumption, as well as Intel's own "hyper threading technology" allowing for enhanced multi-tasking.

The XOLO X900 - which features an 8-megapixel camera - will run initially on Android Gingerbread, Google's smartphone operating system.

This will later be upgraded, Intel said, to the next incarnation of Android, Ice Cream Sandwich.

Lava has emerged as one of India's fastest-growing companies since being founded two-and-a-half years ago.

"After our success in feature phones, with over 10 million happy customers in under three years, XOLO will be a differentiated player in the fast-growing smartphone segment," Lava's co-founder and director Vishal Sehgal said in a statement.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Huntington's disease 'lowers' cancer risk

People with Huntington's disease, a debilitating brain condition, appear have a "protection" from cancer, according to a study in Sweden.

Nearly 40 years of medical records showed patients with Huntington's had half the normal expected risk of developing tumours.

Researchers, writing in The Lancet Oncology, said the reason was unclear.

Cancer Research UK said the findings presented another avenue to explore in tackling cancer.

Academics at Lund University analysed Swedish hospital data from 1969 to 2008. They found 1,510 patients with Huntington's disease.

During the study period, 91 of those patients subsequently developed cancer. The authors said that was 53% lower than the levels expected for the general population.

Huntington's is one of a group of illnesses called "polyglutamine diseases". Data from other polyglutamine diseases also showed lower levels of cancer.

The authors said: "We found that the incidence of cancer was significantly lower among patients with polyglutamine diseases than in the general population.

"The mechanisms behind the protective effects against cancer are unclear and further research is warranted."

Dr Jianguang Ji, from the Center for Primary Health Care Research at Lund University, told the BBC: "Clarification of the mechanism underlying the link between polyglutamine diseases and cancer in the future could lead to the development of new treatment options for cancer."

Eleanor Barrie, senior science information officer at Cancer Research UK, said: "These are interesting results. It's not clear how the genetic changes that cause Huntington's and other similar diseases could protect against cancer, and research in the lab will help to find out more.

"Scientists at Cancer Research UK and around the world are probing the genetic faults that contribute to cancer in their quest to beat the disease, and this is another potential avenue to explore."

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Indonesia says only small tsunami waves hit Sumatra after quakes

JAKARTA (Reuters) - Small tsunami waves of around one meter hit the western coast of Indonesia's Sumatra island on Wednesday after a series of major earthquakes, though the country's disaster agency said it was still assessing whether there were any deaths or damage.
The agency expects the worst impact to have been on Simeulue island off Sumatra and forecasts further small aftershocks in the country's westernmost region, but it has lifted its tsunami alert for an area which was devastated by a tsunami in 2004.

Indian Ocean tsunami alert lifted after Aceh quake

A tsunami watch declared after two major earthquakes off the coast of Indonesia's Aceh province has now been cancelled, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center (PWTC) says.

Two hours after the quakes - one with a magnitude of 8.6, the other measuring 8.3 - the centre says "the threat has diminished or is over for most areas".

The alerts caused panic as people fled buildings and made for high ground.

There have been no immediate reports of damage or casualties.

India, Thailand and Sri Lanka have also lifted their own tsunami warnings.

The region is regularly hit by earthquakes. The Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004 killed 170,000 people in Aceh alone and some 250,000 around the region.

The US Geological Survey (USGS), which documents quakes worldwide, said the first Aceh quake was centred at a depth of 33km (20 miles), about 495km from Banda Aceh, the provincial capital.

It was initially reported as 8.9 magnitude but was later revised down to 8.6 by the USGS. Quake officials said a tsunami had been generated and was heading for the coast of Aceh.

The BBC's Karishma Vaswani in Jakarta says there were reports of the ground shaking for up to five minutes.

A PTWC alert said that sea level readings indicated a tsunami was generated and that it "may already have been destructive along some coasts," without specifying where.

A Thai disaster official said a 10cm wave had been recorded on Koh Miang island, off Phang Nga.

Earlier, Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said the authorities were remaining "vigilant", despite the lack of tsunami reports.

"Our warning system is working well, and I have ordered the national relief team to fly immediately to Aceh to ensure the situation is under control and to take any necessary action," he said.

The alerts caused panic in Aceh province, as people fled from buildings
A few hours later, the PTWC renewed its warning after a major aftershock measuring 8.2 struck 16km (10 miles) beneath the ocean floor and 615km from Banda Aceh.

An AFP correspondent in Banda Aceh said the second aftershock lasted four minutes.

The PTWC issues advisory alerts across the region, which state authorities can use to issue their own emergency procedures. Indonesia straddles the Pacific Ring of Fire, a zone of major seismic activity.

'Minute of chaos'
Sutopo, a spokesman for Indonesia's disaster mitigation agency, said electricity had been cut in Aceh and there were traffic jams to access higher ground.

"Sirens and Koran recitals from mosques are everywhere," he told Reuters.

Tremors were felt as far away as Singapore, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Bangladesh and India. The French island of Reunion was also on alert.

Along the eastern coast of Africa, Kenya and Tanzania issued their own tsunami warnings.

"There was a tremor felt by all of us working in the building," a man called Vincent in Calcutta, India, told the BBC.

"All just ran out of the building and people were asked not to use the elevator. There was a minute of chaos where all started ringing up to their family and asking about their well-being."

Tsunami warning sirens, set up in many vulnerable areas after the 2004 disaster, were heard in Phuket, Thailand, where correspondents said people were calmly following evacuation routes to safe zones.

Roger Musson, a seismologist from the British Geological Survey, said the quakes were unlike those seen off Indonesia in recent years, where ground had been pushed under the continental plate, "flipping up" the seabed.

"It seems to be a large earthquake within the Indian Plate and the plate has broken in a sort of lateral way," he said.

"It's a sort of tearing earthquake, and this is much less likely to cause a tsunami because it's not displacing large volumes of water."

Monday, April 9, 2012

AOL to sell over 800 patents to Microsoft


AOL Inc. shares surged Monday to their highest level in more than a year after it said it has agreed to sell 800 of its patents and license others to Microsoft Corp. for about $1.06 billion in cash.
The New York-based Web site developer and Internet access company said it plans to return some of the sale proceeds to its shareholders. After the sale, AOL should have about $15 per share of cash on hand, it said.
AOL shares jumped $7.78, or 43 percent, to $26.20 in morning trading, adding about $750 million to its market capitalization. Microsoft shares slipped 37 cents, or 1.1 percent, to $31.15 in morning trading.
In February, one of AOL's largest shareholders, an investment firm, said it would nominate candidates for the company's board because it wasn't doing enough to make money from its patents. In response, the company said it had already begun to look at ways to unlock patent value.
Patents have become a hot commodity in the high-tech industry in the last few years. They're useful both for attack — for suing competitors — and for defense — for warding off lawsuits with threats of countersuits. Software patents can have broad applications, and thousands of patents can apply to a complicated product like a cellphone. Google Inc. is buying phone maker Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc. for $12.5 billion to get hold of its patents.
After the sale, AOL said it will still hold over 300 patents and applications covering a variety of core and strategic technologies including advertising, search, content generation, social networking, mapping, multimedia, and security among others.
AOL also received a license to the patents being sold to Redmond, Wash.-based Microsoft Corp.
"The combined sale and licensing arrangement unlocks current dollar value for our shareholders and enables AOL to continue to aggressively execute on our strategy to create long-term shareholder value," AOL Chairman and CEO Tim Armstrong said in a statement.
AOL said it will determine the best way to distribute a "significant portion" of the sale proceeds to shareholders before the sale closes, which is expected to happen by the end of this year.
AOL owns news sites like Huffington Post, Engadget and Techcrunch, but still makes much of its money by providing dial-up Internet access.

Know how to hack a video game console?

The U.S. Navy wants you!

The government wants to pay $177,000 for the ability to monitor game systems

For players just looking to have a good time when gaming online, hackers are a major nuisance. But regardless of how frustrating playing against someone with an unfair advantage can be, the practice of game console hacking has apparently caught the eye of the United States military. It seems the U.S. Navy is looking for a few good hackers to create both hardware and virtual modifications that will allow officials to monitor the messaging functions of specific game consoles — and they're prepared to pay over $150,000 for the final product.
Officials wants to be able to keep tabs on live communications between a person using a modified console and whoever it is they are chatting with. They also want to be able to glean data from a used game console and obtain useful information about the prior owner's communications with other gamers.
An aptly-named firm called Obscure Technologies was awarded the first contract in the Navy's bid for game console clairvoyance, but their mission is more about national security than domestic snooping: it turns out terrorists like video games too. If military intelligence officers can snag actionable information from messages sent over online game networks like PSN and Xbox Live, the world could declare "Game Over" on a terrorist act before it ever occurs.


Sunday, April 8, 2012

100 Funniest Things to Do When You are Bored

1) Point at someone and shout "Your one of them!" Run and pretend to trip. Crawl away slowly.

2) Run up to someone random on the street and slap them with a loaf of bread.

3) Look at see through glass and when someone is on the other side shout "OH MY GOD, I'M HIDEOUS!"

4) Go to McDonalds and ask for a happy meal with extra happy.

5) Walk up to a small child that resembles you, and tell them that you are them from the future.

6) Bring a desk on an elevator. When people try to get on ask if they have an appointment.

7) Put a dora doll in the middle of Walmart.When someone tries to pick it up yell "SWIPER NO SWIPING".

8) Go up to a random lady with a daughter and say her son is adorable.

9) Go to a libary and ask for a book on how to read.

10) Come late to school and when the teacher asks why say your pet rock had a seizure.

11) Go jump on a random guys back and yell (THE SKY IS FALLING RUN MAN RUN) and see what happens.

12) Blow up a balloon, then ask someone to pop it, when they do, start screaming.

13) Fill your mouth with whipped cream, then run down the street screaming "I HAVE RABIES".

14) If skinny people skinny dip what do fat people do? Chunky Dunk?

15) Go to petsmart and buy bird seed. Then ask the clerk how long it will take the birds to grow.

16) Go to walmart, find a random old guy and yell, "GRANDPA! YOUR STILL ALIVE! ITS A MIRACLE".

17) Shout "For Narnia!" and charge into a store, knocking over everything in your way.

18) Throw a watermelon in front of someone. Then get on your knees, grab your hair and scream "NOOO!"

19) Throw a small plastic ball at some body and then yell "get in your ball you stupid pokemon.

20) Sit on a curb with a stuffed animal and scream at it about how it ruined your life.

21) Run through a police station and yell " I finally escaped from prison!" .

22) Go to a Chinese restaruant and ask for Mexican food.

23) Buy an ice cream, ask the cashier if they believe in unicorns then squish the cone on your forehead.

24) Buy an ice cream cone, stick it on top of someone's head and yell "Why did you steal my ice cream?"

25) Dress up like a grandma and break dance in walmart.

26) Go to weigth wachers with a bag of cookies.

27) Tie hotwheels cars to the bottom of your cat/dog's feet.

28) Go up to random people at the mall, show them your ID, and say, "HAVE YOU SEEN THIS MAN?!"

29) Name your hair George, then go to the salon and be upstet that they killed him.

30) Call someone to tell them you can't talk right now.

31) Go to to a fast food restraunt and ask for a krabby patty, i they say no throw a fit.

32) Glue yourself to the ceiling and when someone walks by spit on them.

33) Run up to someone in Walmart and say U AINT GOT NO PANCAKE MIX!

34) Tell your dad in a public place- "Look, old man, I don't want your candy!"

35) In a public place, hold up a box of cheerios and yell "FREE DONUT SEEDS!".

36) Make "No Dumping - Violators Will Be Prosecuted" signs and put them in public bathroom stalls.

37) Dress up as ronald mcdonald and go to burger king.

38) Sit in a cardboard box and yell at people who walk by that they're trespassing!

39) When The Money Comes Out The ATM, Scream "I Won!, I Won!" "I Won!, I Won!"

40) Go to an Italian restaurant dressed up as Mario. See what happens.

41) Call a chicken place and ask how big there breast are.

42) Go to mc. donalds and ask for fries without the potatos.

43) Sing to public plants if anyone asks what you're doing scream and run.

44) Go to a clothes store, go in the front window and pretend to be a manikin.

45) Sniff a random person then stare at them for a while then say "your one of them".

46) Go to a cloths store, walk into the dressing room. Walk out and ask where the toilet paper is!

47) Tie a rock to a string and take it for a walk. Every now and then yell "Bad boy, Fluffy!"

48) Go to a airport and say Can I go in your suitcase to every person you see.

49) Go up to a really buff man and hug him yelling GRANDMAMA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

50) Go in an elevator and then make peek-a-boo sounds when the doors open and close.

51) Put a computer mouse in a mouse trap.

52) Go to a pet shop, buy birdseed, and ask how long it will take to grow.

53) Follow strangers around a store and spray everything they touch with disinfectant.

54) Go to kfc and ask the way to mcdonalds.

55) KLFHJNEAJHVHJSAFVJHLASGKJDZFFJE...sorry there was just a spider on the keyboard.

56) Call a random phone number and yell, "Where is my fried chicken dude?!"

57) Tape your nose up like a pig, and protest bacon at the grocery store.

58) Find a midget on a street ask him to go up to people and say can i hav $20 I'm a bit short.

59) Walk around the mall five times talking to a carrot and see how many people look at you funny.

60) Go to your teacher and say i know what you did last night.

61) Dress up as ronald mcdonald and go aplpy for a job at burger king.

62) Stand on the side of the road with a hair dryer and point it at cars.

63) Go to the cinema and shout "HE'S THE MURDERER!" whenever someone new comes on screen.

64) Walk up to somebody and say "Im not wearing any pants" People will look down 99% of the time.

65) Go to mcdonalds and ask for directions to KFC.

66) In Wal-mart: Make a trail of orange juice on the ground, leading to the restrooms.

67) See if you can get a Wal-Mart clerk to sell you just one M&M.

68) Ring a random doorbell and when they answer just stare at them.

69) Make an old lady help you across the street.

70) Go to a clothing store, hide in a rack, and when people are browsing through, yell, "PICK ME!!!

71) Go to Wal-Mart, buy a cucumber and some KY jelly. Notice the look on the cashier's face.

72) Go to the store. Start Rolling around on the floor. Scream "Clean up on Aisle 3!"

73) Throw glue sticks at random people walking down the street and see if it sticks to them!

74) Ask a librarian if they have a book on learning to read.

75) Open a window and yell ITS MY MONEY AND I NEED IT NOW!

76) Ask the manager of a McDonalds where the nearest Burger King is.

77) Dress up as a superhero pretending to stop bank robbers.

78) Go to walmart, go to a dressing room, wait a few minutes and yell there is no toilet paper in here!

79) Spit at a llama...How does it feel NOW you Darn LLAMA!

80) Hire a taxi. When the man asks you where you want to go, say "To infinity, and beyond".

81) Enter an elevator with people and sing and dance to "Peanut Butter Jelly Time."

82) Ask pizza hut to deliver water.

83) Go around the city park licking trees and if anyone asks say youre marking your territory.

84) Go into a public bathroom and start singing "Taking Care of Business" very loudly.

85) Hide in a public bathroom stall and when someone walks in, say "Ah young one, Welcome to Narnia."".

86) Throw a pokemon ball at your teachers head and scream "gotta catch em all".

87) Go in to a public bathroom, go into a stall, wait a second, then scream, "Mommy I need help!"

88) Go to a store, and leave a trail of orange juice leading to the bathrooms.

89) Wear blue lipstick and tell every one who asks why, that you ate a smurf.

90) Dress up as harry potter and stalk someone all day shouting random spells at them.

91) Go to mcdonalds and ask for directions to burgerking.

92) Put a lamp shade on your head and run around walmart.

93) Attack you neighbors with an army of garden knomes!

94) Convince a fat guy to give you 10,000$ for a giant cheese burger.

95) When in an elevator with only one other person,stare at them and breathe heavily.

96) Go to an atm machine and when the money comes out scream i win i win.

97) Go into a grocery store and scream at cheese.

98) Hide in a clothing rack in Walmart and when somebody goes by YELL "PICK ME PICK ME".

99) Walk around with a blow dryer and ask people if they want a blow job.

100) Go to McDonalds and order a diet water, drink it, do a spit take, and yell, I SAID DIET!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Turning dumbphones to smartphones

A host of technologies promise to upgrade older, simpler handsets to give them the functionality of their more powerful, hi-tech cousins.

“I’m not a mobile phone guy,” says Guy Kamgaing with a chuckle. It is a strange thing to say, particularly when you consider he is the CEO of a company that makes software for mobile phones. But unlike many other CEOs of mobile firms, the Cameroonian entrepreneur does not obsess over the latest iPhone or the next software update for Android. He is much more interested in the kind of phones that fell out of vogue when smartphones arrived; an interest sparked on business trips throughout` Africa. “There were lines outside of cyber-cafes telling me that people wanted to get on the internet,” Kamgaing says. “But they didn’t have computers at home, or at the office.” What they did have, he says, were cell phones. Not high-end smartphones, but handsets designed to do the basics, mostly voice and SMS. “The only way demand for internet access could be met was through these basic phones,” says Kamgaing. “And I asked myself, ‘What if we could create something that would enable a low-end device to access digital content?’” And that’s how Mobile-XL came to be. To all intents and purposes the free software is a web browser that sits comfortably on most lower-end, handsets that run Java.

 It allows a user to access all different types of information that he or she might find online. For example, you can use Facebook, check email, play Sudoku and even download music. But Mobile-XL is far from being your typical mobile web browser. It is built to work entirely via SMS. The app essentially offers the user a set of browsable categories. Let’s say you wanted to check the score in a football match. You navigate to that category, and find your team. But when you click, instead of sending you to a web page, the request is transmitted back as an SMS. Just a few seconds later, you get a response with the score, again in the form of an SMS, that the app reads and presents to you on your handset. You get the information you’re looking for, but most importantly, you are not charged for downloading masses of data.

The only cost is sending and receiving a text message, substantially cheaper than paying for data in most parts of the world. “From the end user’s perspective, it’s basically the same kind of experience you get with a browser,” says Kamgaing. “But we’re trying to offer very local content. We aggregate job listings, local sports, classifieds, even stuff that’s not really on the internet yet. In Kenya, we realized that agricultural prices were important, so we created that category for that market.” Mobile-XL has done pilot projects in Cameroon and Ghana as well, and is about to launch in India. The company is also looking to go into Brazil and Mexico in the near future. It makes it money, for now, through SMS revenue sharing deals with mobile operators. Kamgaing says ads will come later, “when we have more eyeballs”. Book club But Kamgaing and Mobile-XL are not without competition when it comes to lightweight mobile browsers. And for good reason. “The market is huge,” says Gour Lentell, the Zimbabwe-born, Sydney-based co-founder of a company called biNu. “There are around five billion mobile users in the world today, and more than four billion of them are non smart-phone users. And yet, the mobile forms their only and primary means of accessing the internet. Many of those people will go to extraordinary lengths to have internet access from their mobile devices.” Lentell and his business partner, Dave Turner, got the idea for biNu when they came across a piece of intellectual property a few years ago.

“It was just a prototype,” says Lentell, “but it was designed to optimize the delivery of data services over wireless networks to mobile devices.” Lentell and Turner acquired the technology, and began building on it.The two launched biNu in 2010, offering low-end phone users “a radically different” browsing experience. The company claims that with biNu, webpages can load much faster than on a smartphone, and use far less bandwidth. How? Simple, really. Most of the processing is not done on the phone, but in the cloud. “We virtualize the smartphone experience on our cloud-based platform. We do all the processing, right down to fonts and graphics, in the cloud and then transfer that efficiently to the phone to be displayed.” It is a similar trick used by other browsers, such as Opera Mini, Skyfire, UC Browser and Bolt. And it is one, Lentell that says, can translate into smaller data usage bills for the user as unnecessary information is not downloaded to the phone. Like Mobile-XL, biNu is a stand-alone application that can be downloaded for free. Within the biNu platform, users find links to popular sites such as Facebook, Gmail and the like. It is comparable to another application known as Snaptu, that gathered nearly 80 million users before it was bought by Facebook in 2011 and redesigned as the Facebook For Every Phone app. Lentell says that he sees the attraction of the technology to a company like Facebook – a lot of his users use the social network through his app, particularly the messaging function, which he says replaces SMS in a lot of cases. But, he says, there is a demand for other services. “Wikipedia, Google Search and Google Translate are used widely across our various markets,” he says.

 Another popular service is biNu Books, which the company is working on in conjunction with a non-profit called Worldreader. For the past few years, Worldreader has been distributing e-readers to kids in the developing world. The readers come pre-loaded with reference materials, local textbooks and classics of world literature that are in the public domain. Worldreader’s e-reader program has been popular, but “the fact that mobile penetration is so high in most parts of the developing world – and growing fast – has driven us to looking into the possibility of using mobile phones to deliver more books to more folks,” says the organisation’s Elizabeth Wood. “But until now, the technology hasn’t been there for the feature phone. Books on iPhones are great, but the people we are trying to reach don’t have iPhones. They have $20 Nokias.” So Worldreader and biNu teamed up to make a reader for low-end phones. “The advantage of a phone app,” says Wood, “is that it’s a library in your pocket on a device you already have.”

 They hope that with biNu’s help, they’ll have one million users by the end of next year. Right now, both biNu and Mobile-XL are tapping into markets hungry for a low-cost, efficient and reliable way to access the internet in ways that many of us in the developed world take for granted. But will that change as more of the world gets connected via 3G and even 4G systems? Both Lentell and Kamgaing do not think a switch-over like that is going to happen overnight. Lentell points to the fact that a large portion of downloads come from the US, suggesting a demand even in mature markets, whilst Kamgaing says he sees a “long future” for voice and SMS in emerging markets. “I think that’s why you have to decide to give people some basic tools, instead of expecting them to buy smartphones and iPhones,” he says

Source: BBC News