Aside

The company launched its Set
Top Boxes, which will enable
subscribers to view TV content
and also access the Internet.
Dubbed the ‘The BigBox’, the
android powered device will
offer over 30 TV channels
including free-to-air local
channels.
The decoder is the company’s
first product since the launch
of its newly optimized 4G
network. Its uniqueness lies in
its ability to allow its
subscribers to access TV
content on High Definition
format as well as watch content
on demand through online
video services such as
YouTube.
The digital box offers
integrated home entertainment
solutions in that its Wi-Fi
hotspot can serve up to ten
people at a time.
“Our vision is to enable a
differentiated broadband
Internet solution that will
enable our subscribers to
harness the power of the
Internet to watch new and
exciting content from
anywhere n the world from the
comfort of their homes,”
Safaricom’s CEO Bob Collymore
said at the launch.
The company offers two
payment options to its
customers. The first option is
purchasing the decoder at
Sh9,999 whereby customers
will access all free-to air
channels, up to 6GB in data
bundles a month and free
YouTube access.
In the second option,
customers will part with
Sh4,999 with an additional
monthly fee of Sh999 which is
to be remitted for six months.
“Customers will be able to top
up their balance by buying
monthly bundles using their
airtime or M-PESA using their
predefined USSD and WAP
interfaces,” Collymore said.
The digital box is up against
devices such as Multichoice’s
DStv and GOTv which are key
market leaders. It will also have
a face-off with Zuku which
offer similar services that
include digital TV channels and
monthly subscription to the
Internet. Other companies that
recently joined the digital
boxes space include Radio
Africa with its Bamba TV
decoder.
Safaricom said that it is
targeting an estimated 2.4
million households out of the
3.2 million households that
have access to digital television
sets but are not using any of
the boxes that are circulating
the market.
Safaricom’s head of business
development, Sylvia Mulinge,
added that the company is
working towards serving
Kenyans through as many
screens as possible, thus their
decision to launch the Set Top
Boxes.
Customers will be able to
purchase the Set Top Box from
all Safaricom shops
countrywide. They will also be
available in all major cities
across the country.
The firm recorded a 38 percent
increase in profit after tax in
full year results released by the
company on Thursday.

Safaricom unveils it’s debut flagship #ThaBigBox

Aside

Today, Instagram
announced the launch of
@ Music, an account
dedicated to highlighting
both well-known up-and-
coming artists from around
the world. The goal:
showcase the love of music
in the Instagram
community by showing
users a different side of
the artists and musicians.
Instagram wrote about the
new account in a blog post:
It means highlighting music
photographers, album
illustrators, instrument
makers and, of course,
fans. In the Instagram
tradition, we will also
welcome community
participation with a new,
music-themed monthly
hashtag project.
@Music will feature six
posts per week including
three different series:
#LocallySourced
featuring unsigned
artists
#DoubleTrack featuring
artist interest outside of
music
#15SecondLessons
featuring how-to videos
The first artist featured as
part of the launch was
@Questlove, Roots
drummer and leader of the
Tonight Show house band.
In addition to being an early
adopter to social media,
apparently Questlove likes
to use his Instagram
account to geek out about
food. This has become a
real passion for him since
visiting The Cooking Lab in
Seattle.
He told Instagram:
I never thought of myself
as a science nerd. I am now
more into science than I
am into actual music.
The blog takes readers on a
journey of Questlove’s
discovery and love affair
with music, from sharing
his insomnia with Donny
Hathaway at the tender age
of three, to getting his first
drum set as a surprise
Christmas gift four years
later.
Read more about
Questlove on Instagram
@ Music and follow the
account for more features
on artists you love and
artists on the rise.

Instagram Launches @Music

Aside

Microsoft is kicking the
“Project Spartan” codename to
the curb, revealing “Microsoft
Edge” as the official name of
its new web browser. Microsoft
said the name refers to being
on the edge of productivity and
consumption (though it’s
also the name of the browser’s
rendering engine).
As Microsoft announced
previously, Edge will be the
default browser in Windows 10,
while Internet Explorer will
become a legacy option for
compatibility reasons. Edge is
supposed to be lighter and
faster than Internet Explorer,
but with new features such as a
built-in notation tool, a
distraction-free reading mode,
and website information from
Cortana.
The browser will also support
extensions based on HTML and
Javascript. Microsoft says
developers will be able to port
their extensions from Chrome
with a few minor modifications,
and showed off examples such
as Reddit Enhancement Suite.
Why this matters: Microsoft’s
has made many attempts to
convince people that Internet
Explorer isn’t terrible, but in
the end the company has
decided to make a clean break.
Edge will be a major feature in
Windows 10, and in addition to
knowing how extensions will
work in the new browser, we
finally know what to call it.

‘Project Spartan ‘ No More: Microsoft’s New Browser Is Called Edge

Aside

The manifestos are out and
party leaders are busy
touring the country. Even
tech companies are doing
what they can to help you
choose a side ahead of next
month’s General Election.
Twitter rolled out its political
emoji, lovingly referred to as
“hashflags”, earlier this
month, but Google’s just
launched a valuable resource
that tells you all of the
election candidates in your
area. If you pull up a Google
search and enter the words
“who is on the uk ballot,” the
search giant will ask you to
enter your postcode or
constituency before
displaying an alphabetic list
of all the candidates gunning
for your vote. As expected,
the 2015 Election campaign
has been the most web-
friendly yet — it’s just a
shame online voting won’t
happen any time soon.

United Kingdom’s Election: Google Will Tell You Who Your Local General Election Candidates Are

Aside

Inconsistent speed,
connectivity issues, voice
drop problems main
reasons for 3G not taking
off In India : Study
It was never a secret that
3G has not been successful
in India. Now Ericsson has
validated the fact with its
research which states that
close to half of Indian
mobile phone users do not
find any difference, forget
about significant, between
2G and 3G connections
especially due to
inconsistent speeds.
Speed is one of the prime
factors for choosing a
Internet pack and 3G
falters on this premise
resulting in the dismal
adoption of the later
technology in the country.
These users do not see any
improvement in the data
speed even if they switch
to the 3G network, the
Ericsson survey revealed.
According to the
ConsumerLab report, 48%
of Indian smartphone users
are unable to distinguish
between 2G and 3G speeds
and thus see no advantage
in switching to a high
speed service.
The results are based on
ConsumerLab survey by
Ericsson India, which
surveyed 33 cities in India.
The study was conducted
between September 2014
and January 2015 covering
15,000 urban households
and people aged between
15 to 75 years. This sample
is estimated to represent
127 million smartphone
users in urban India. The
report also finds that 88%
of users surveyed find
mobile broadband in India
is expensive and 36% say
lack of value for money
plans by the operators a
cause they have not
subscribed to 3G.
The report also says that
most Indian smartphone
users, 60 % of them, face
network problems while
accessing internet across
locations.
“We have found
people are facing
differing mobile data
issues depending
upon location. About
63 per cent people
are facing quality and
reliability issues (like
voice drops,
connection breaks,
inconsistent speed,
no availability of 3G)
inside their house,”
says the study across
33 major cities
telecom gear maker
Ericsson.
Major telecom providers in
India, Airtel and Idea had
said that the services will
become 6 times costlier in
event of Government of
India implementing net
neutrality across
platforms. Their threat to
increase charges falls flat
on the face of the poor
services they provide to
Indians.

Most Indians Unable To Distinguish 2G From 3G Network

Aside

Last year in September,
StarTimes launched its
Satellite service called
StarSat to take on Zuku and
Multichoice’s DSTV. During
the launch, StarTimes also
made it easy for those with
dishes from other service
providers including the
defunct GTV to have their
Satellite Dish repositioned
and connect to a StarTimes
HD Decoder and thus access
the direct to home service.
StarTimes has today
revamped service and called
it StarTimes Satellite TV. This
was also followed by slashing
of prices for its various
packages and introduction of
a new package known as
Nova. Previously, the cost of
the satellite package was
Kshs. 6,499 which has been
lowered to Kshs. 4,499. The
users wishing to install the
full kit will need to acquire a
dish, LNB, 20 meters of cable
and accessories for Kshs.
2,000 with the Kshs. 2,499 for
the HD decoder and initial
subscription fees.
StarTimes also launched a
new package called Nova
which will retail for Kshs. 299
with access to 35 local and
international channels. The
company has dropped the
prices of its various bouquets
including the Super bouquet
which will now retail for Kshs.
1,799 from Kshs. 2,499 with
access to over 95 local
channels. Smart bouquet will
retail for Kshs. 899 down
from Kshs. 1,799 with access
to 67 local and international
channels. Other bouquets
include Chinese and Indian
retailing at Kshs. 1,799 and
Kshs. 899 respectively.
The slashed prices are a big
boon for consumers as the
Pay TV wars continue. DSTV
recently hiked the prices of
its packages with subscribers
of the premium tariff parting
with Kshs. 8,200 monthly
while Compact Plus pay
Kshs. 5,500. Compact
subscribers pay Kshs. 3,200.
Zuku’s premium plan satellite
costs Kshs. 2,399 for 97
video channels and 51 audio
channels per month, Zuku
classic sells for Kshs. 1,299
while Zuku Poa sells for Kshs.
799.
StarTimes sales Director
Anderson Gicheru noted that
the Company is keen on
ensuring affordability and
accessibility. “Our new
satellite television service
offer is expected to enable
more Kenyans to afford and
access digital television no
matter their location in the
country”, he added.
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StarTime Slashes Satellite TV Prices By 31% And Introduces Nova Bouquet

Aside

Poor advertising practices
and malicious ads have
existed on the internet for
well over a decade. Years
ago sites were plagued by
flashing, vibrating banner
ads declared users the
10,000th or 1 millionth
visitor, and that prizes
awaited them. Much of the
time, that prize was
malware.
Sadly, this practice has not
gone away. Ars Technica
reports that in recent
weeks ransomware and
other malware spread
through Google’s
DoubleClick ad service,
infecting The Huffington
Post readers.
However, there’s another
problem beyond malice in
advertising: a lot of it is
constant and low quality.
And there is no advertising
campaign that fits this
description better than the
one weird trick series of
ads. The problem with
these ads is not their
proliferation, but the lack
of value they provide to
users.
While consumers often
don’t mind interacting with
brands on their own terms,
they’ve grown more savvy
at avoiding ads otherwise.
Likewise, they’ve grown
frustrated with semantic
ads offering them products
for things they’ve already
purchased. Native
advertising — or ads that
appear in social media
streams — is one strategy
to reach user who avoid
such ads. Indeed, native
advertising is becoming
more commonplace; still,
many social networks are
careful to make ads as
unobtrusive as possible.
Networks do this primarily
to balance the user
experience with the need
to generate revenue
sustainably. But more and
more, social media streams
are being overrun with
native ads — this in
addition to sponsored and
promoted content.
According to Thomas
Ricker, deputy managing
editor for The Verge, movie
advertisers are particularly
fond of this strategy:
The marketing blitz, once
confined to a trailer or two,
is now more a marketing
dribble that drip-feeds a
regurgitated slurry of
teasers into the mouths of
a needy brood. Actors and
fans mutually masticating
each other for months —
even years — until
everyone pukes or falls
slaked into their cinema
seats on opening day.
The trend of using each
social media post as a
potential to advertise can
easily push users away,
rather than engaging them.
Whether it’s a promoted
post, or a selfie from a
celebrity in costume, users
can get worn out on
marketing content. And
when users tire of ads,
they find solutions to avoid
them.
Consider the benefits of an
engaged audience, such as
the creation of brand
advocates. Don’t view your
marketing as a way to
expose users to a product,
view it as a way to engage
customers and make them
lifelong fans.

Social Advertising : Are You Adding Value Or Just Begging For Attention ?

Aside

WHEN I FIRST met my shrink, I
wasn’t so sure about him. He’s
handsome, fit, not much taller
than me, reticent. I couldn’t tell
if his reticence was disapproval
and judgment or if he was just
doing his job: staying quiet,
staying neutral. I’m new to
therapy, and, frankly, had
wanted a woman therapist, but
here I was with this silent,
unreadable man and I didn’t
know how to feel comfy about
it.
So I Googled him. I found his
Facebook page, saw that he
might be a band geek (like me),
that he seems generally
empathetic and that he has a
cute dog that sometimes wears
clothes.
That’s how I got comfortable.
A couple of weeks ago, Anna
Fels wrote for the New York
Times about patients Googling
their therapists. Written from
the perspective of a Googled
therapist, the piece cautions
against the ways in which
knowing about your doctor’s
personal life can affect the
experience of therapy. She also
acknowledged it happens in the
other direction, too: ER nurses,
for instance, are Googling their
patients to find out if they’re
criminals, or if they’re famous,
or just if they’re anything
interesting at all.
“The experience of evaluating a
patient with fresh eyes and no
prior assumptions may, for
better and for worse,
disappear,” Fels wrote.
I know that overGoogling can
pose a problem for lots of
people: Job seekers are legally
entitled to a discrimination-
free application process, for
instance. And juries, too: We all
know juries can’t (or shouldn’t)
go Googling defendants. And
what about the people out
there who screwed up five
years ago but their DUI or viral
video or racist tweet is still the
first thing that comes up? Are
we not more than our search
results?
We are. Still, I Google every
single person I meet.
Sometimes out of necessity,
sometimes out of curiosity.
And I bet you, to some extent,
do that, too. It’s a reflex now,
and like a cliche of Internet
culture: If I can access
information, why wouldn’t I?
But if you tell a person you
Googled her, she’ll recoil a bit.
(Trust me.) So, how come?
I talked to Dr. Nora Ganim
Barnes, director of the Center
for Marketing Research at
UMass Dartmouth, and she
agreed people-Googling still
seems a little gauche. Barnes
found in her report, “Reaching
the Wired Generation: How
Social Media is Changing
College Admission,” that 21
percent of colleges and
universities say they research
and recruit students on social
networks—especially students
applying for prestigious
scholarships or programs with
high visibility and limited seats.
This surprised people, she
says.
“The interesting thing to me is
that anyone’s surprised by
this,” Barnes says. She says
people didn’t expect that
“academia would stoop so low.”
“[It was like they thought
academia] should be exempt
from those kinds of activities,”
she says. “People need to
understand that we’re in a new
era right now. That era is one of
complete transparency: You
can see and hear and watch
what people do more than we
ever could before.”
Does Barnes think the Era of
Complete Transparency is a
bad thing? “Some people think
it’s good, some people think
it’s bad,” she says. “For me, it’s
just real.”
Which is why you’re basically
behind the curve if you’re not
Googling pretty much everyone
you meet. The trend is not
reserved for college
admissions and doctors and
nosy-parkers like me. There are
startups in the service industry
that capitalize this hunger for
information, using it to help
connect people with like-
minded employees.
I talked to Lynn Perkins, CEO of
Urban Sitter, a site that
connects families with
babysitters. Through Urban
Sitter, both families and sitters
create profiles using Facebook
Connect, which pulls some of
their Facebook info into an
Urban Sitter profile. From
there, profiles can be
augmented with more info
about why a sitter loves to sit
or how many kids a family has
and how old they are. There’s
also a rating system within the
site so that families can see
how reliable or skilled sitters
are, and sitters can see
whether a family, say, burns
through sitters quickly (a
warning sign), or routinely
comes home late.
“We try to give both sides a lot
of information,” Perkins says.
But even with that information,
“both sitters and parents
Google each other.” What are
they looking for? The usual
stuff: vulgar posts, criminal
records, that kind of thing. But
Perkins says she also noticed
something else sitters in
particular were trying to find:
the occupations of the parents
they’re sitting for.
“They’re looking to see where
the parents work as a potential
career connection,” Perkins
says. “We’ve had numerous
people find jobs through the
parents they’ve met through
the site. It’s super smart and
motivated of the sitters.”
It is super smart. I’m for it. I’m
for using the Internet as a
teaching tool, a networking
tool, a research tool. Why
should we deny ourselves
information?
Except I know that some people
really do suffer from
overzealous Googlers like me.
Some of our histories are
painful and our mistakes don’t
(and shouldn’t) define us. Our
grammar and spelling skills, our
political alliances, whether we
like Game of Thrones—those
don’t necessarily determine
whether we’re worth hiring or
friending. I do not let that fact
dissuade me from Googling,
but I keep that in mind so that I
can be a good Googler. A
mindful Googler.
General advice for finding a
good shrink is to shop around
for a while, meet with a few
people before you find a
connection. I know people
who’ve never found that
connection. And while some
details—taste in movies or
music or authors or whether or
not she’s a foodie—may not
really be reliable for
determining who might be a
good doctor to you, there are
things to be gleaned from the
Web about the personality and
style of a particular therapist
that can, potentially, help you
reach the right person.
Knowing what I know about my
shrink helped me decide to
pursue a relationship with him.
What I found led me to believe I
could talk to him openly about
my most secret, most anxiety-
fraught thoughts—and I was
right. I don’t know how he
would feel about the fact that I
know he has a cute little dog,
seems to live in a nice house,
and maybe was involved in
band in high school. But I hope
he’d see that all those things
signaled kindness to me. And
that was all I was really looking
for.

You Should Google Everyone Your Therapist Notwithstanding

Aside

The five new filters that
Instagram released back in
December have reportedly
been such a hit with users,
the company has unveiled
three more retouching
options: Lark, Reyes and
Juno. According to
Instagram’s blog, Lark
softens reds in favor of blue
and green hues to highlight
landscape shots while Reyes
washes out the image as a
whole to create a weathered
and vintage feel. The Juno
filter is geared more for
portraits. It boosts warm
tones and whites while
adding a slight green tint to
cooler colors.
Additionally, Instagram now
supports emoji in its
hashtags. As the company’s
blog explains, “…you can
discover even more by
adding them to your own
photos and videos, searching
them on the Explore page
and tapping on them when
you see them in captions.”
These features roll out
today; look for iOS version
6.11.0 in the App Store and
Android version 6.20.0 in
Google Play.

Instagram debuts three new filters and emoji hashtags

Aside

Facebook is no stranger to
video chat, but it’s been
keeping a low profile as of
late. Well, it’s no longer
content to sit on the
sidelines while Skype and
Hangouts steal the show —
the company has just
introduced video calling in
Messenger. Whether you’re
using Android or iOS, you
only need to tap a single
button in an existing
conversation to start a face-
to-face session. The feature
is available today in 18
countries (including the UK
and the US), so give it a shot
if you’re a Facebook fan and
would rather not fire up
another app just to see who
you’re talking to.

Facebook brings video-calling to Messenger