Eric Hamilton: Unlocking the Power of Your Cellphone with New Invention

By Bekitembe Eric Taylor

Some of the greatest inventions used every day began by answering a “what if” scenario. What if a pocket-sized device had the potential to explore the relationship between mobile devices and high-definition television?

Eric Hamilton conceived his creation this way. “We have cellphones that are 10 to 15 times more powerful than most computers from 20 years ago,” he said. “I wanted to create something that could unlock the power of the cellphone so that you can use it with your television or for gaming without having to add to your current billing plan.”

Hamilton, an alum of Michigan State University, had been trying to figure out what this device would look like over the course of the last two years. A mentor of the marketing professional told him that instead of searching for this type of device in the marketplace, he should just build it himself.

“So, googled a manufacturing company in China, told them what I wanted, and that’s how it all started,” he said.

Tinystic was born. The device, which is the size of a USB flash white tinystic copydrive, is a portable HDMI that uses wireless Miracast and Airplay technology to interface between one’s mobile device and a big-screen television. The user can also access connection a Bluetooth mouse and keyboard through his or her mobile device of choice with the television acting as a computer monitor.

Tinystic is compatible with Android platforms 4.2 or higher as well as iOS devices (iPhone or iPad). “You can use it to display your mobile apps, games and Excel presentations,” said Hamilton. “Its competitor is Google Chromecast.”

The New York City resident said that, unlike Chromecast, Tinystic can safely stream Spuul, an app that allows viewers access to Bollywood films and Popcorn Flix, another movie app. The device retails at http://www.tinystic.com for $99 and ships for $8.

This isn’t Hamilton’s first time launching a tech business. The 45-year-old was co-founder of the Around the Way app, a software using Google technology to locate Black-owned businesses. “What separates Tinystic from the Around the Way app is that this is completely under my control,” he said. “The app was free, so the hope was that it would generate revenue on the back end through advertising. With Tinystic, it’s generating revenue upfront with sales.”

The Around the Way app received the endorsement from the United States Black Chamber of Commerce and had great potential for expansion. However, activity on the app has been dormant for over a year. In fact, the last update on the company’s website by its founder Janine Hausif was in April 2014.

Though Hamilton has no ill will toward his previous business acquaintances, he amicably parted ways with them to begin a crowdfunding campaign last August that raised $19,000 toward the manufacturing of Tinystic. He also committed $67,000 in purchase orders from prospective users and investors alike who believed in his dream. Since December, nearly 700 consumers use the device in their homes, on the hotel television while away on business or in the office.

Hamilton has been in talks with a retail mobile marketing firm based in Norcross, Georgia, Tokova, LLC, to help get Tinystic into retail stores. “Maybe we could have a marketing campaign where the customer can sign up for a certain cellphone plan and receive Tinystic for free,” he said. “Cellphone technology has made the world smaller.”

TinyTV is the next product Hamilton is in the process of developing. The new device will have the potential to transmit television waves into the user’s cell so that he or she is able to watch network shows on a cellphone. “If you’re in Atlanta, the signal will probably be stronger,” he said. “If you’re in a desert, the signal may not be strong enough to work.”

Hamilton said that he looks forward to getting Tinystic partnered with mobile retailers by the end of the year, and launching TinyTV by next year.

How Africa is out-innovating Silicon Valley

By Abigail Higgins  June 01, 2014

When things turned ugly after Kenya’s 2007 elections, an unlikely group of heroes — young African coders — developed a platform that used cellphones and the Internet to track the violence. Ushahidi, as it was called, would go on to transform not only government accountability in Nairobi but, more broadly, digital mapping around the world.

The African techies were at the forefront of a revolution clicking into place from Lagos to Nairobi — and everywhere in between. Today, Africa’s “Silicon Savanna” has produced innovations as varied as Wi-Fi on public transportation in Kenya to mobile midwifery services in Ghana.

These tech pioneers are quickly eclipsing many of the advances coming out of their American namesake. Key to their success is the recognition that while most Africans don’t own computers, the vast majority do have access to a cellphone. The continent has some 650 million mobile phone users — more than the United States or Europe — who account for a direct economic impact of $32 billion.

With seven of the world’s 10 fastest-growing economies now located in Africa, the importance of mobile technology cannot be overstated. Indeed, this focus on mobile isn’t just changing Africa, it’s changing the world. Ushahidi has been used to find survivors of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, to track the impact of the BP oil spill, and for outlets like The Huffington Post and Al Jazeera to gather news otherwise unreported. What also sets African innovation apart is a core understanding that technology must work for residents in both bustling modern cities, such as Cairo or Cape Town, and the rural areas that are still home to half the world’s population.

Consider M-Pesa, the world’s first mobile banking service. Also developed in Kenya, it is exactly the kind of technology that taps into these two different customer bases. M-Pesa — the “m” for mobile, “pesa” is Swahili for money — allows users to send and receive funds on their phones, dramatically cutting the time once needed to pay electricity bills in person or deliver money to a sick relative by bus. M-Pesa has already expanded to South Africa, India, Afghanistan, and Tanzania — and is even available in the United States for the African diaspora. In 2011, more than 50 similar mobile-money startups were launched in Africa.

Nor, however, is innovation limited to mobile. The team at Ushahidi went on to develop BRCK, a block designed to provide a reliable Internet connection anywhere in the world — “from remote and rugged locations to your corner cafe,” the company brags. Safaricom, the company that launched M-Pesa, is behind the effort to equip Nairobi’s public minibuses with high-speed wireless Internet. Plus, while Kenya is the undisputed leader, similar development is occurring across Africa. Easy Taxi, a service connecting users with cabs at the click of a button, first launched in Lagos. Communities in rural Malawi are combatting deforestation using GPS, and, in Mali, the IKON Tele-radiology initiative has made it possible to receive X-ray scans and diagnoses over the Internet from remote areas.

Many of these technologies are born out of the less romantic side of Africa — they’re often filling the gaps left by corrupt governments and failed infrastructure. And yet those origins don’t make this burgeoning innovation any less of a bright spot on a continent rarely given the benefit of a hopeful future.

Abigail Higgins is a freelance writer based in Nairobi.

Ancient Egyptian Inventions

door lock and keys,

combs, scissors,

condom,

high heeled shoes,

papyrus,

pen,

library,

waterclock,

plow,

black ink,

wigs,

makeup,

deodorants,

toothbrush and toothpaste.

Irrigation,

plow,

sun calender,

twisted rope,

Oldest writing system,

breath mints,bowling,

sails,

first planned city,

Kahun, Amarna first city with sewage system ,

first mining system,

languages

Longest written history.

Inspired Greeks

http://history.howstuffworks.com/history-vs-myth/greek-philosophers-african-tribes1.htm

Dropifi Profile on the Ghanaian startup that won the Global Startup Open Competition

Dropifi is a Ghanaian information technology start-up which provides back-end support to companies.

The company has a solid system which enables companies in any part of the world, mostly small and medium-scale enterprises, to install widgets on their personal computers or tablets, so that customers can contact them.

This means that the “Contact us” function will be performed on behalf of the companies by Dropifi, from its offices at East Legon, within the premises of Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology.

In 60 seconds, companies can seamlessly deploy Dropifi’s simple and intuitive contact widget and get real-time enquiries from customers on their websites.

Contact profiling

Co-Founders, Mr Kamil Nabong and Philip Effah Mensah, told the GRAPHIC BUSINESS that messages that passed through its system went through rigorous anti-spam filters before being further processed to uncover the personality and emotions behind the message.

“For instance, the person contacting the company may only provide the email address, but we will go and do further search to lift the veil on the person and make that detailed information available to the company the customer wants to reach,” Mr Nabong said.

Dropifi’s smart widget allows companies to better analyse incoming “contact us” messages.

Using the Dropifi contact widget, companies also see incoming message trending data in relation to industry metrics, the demographic and social media profiles of the sender analyse the real emotions behind the messages and easily integrate with their existing CRMs, e-commerce and blogging platforms.

Ultimately, the programme seeks to clear out the era of long and scary website “contact us” forms that deny businesses of valuable feedback and leads, but will still deliver business critical insights and a spam-free customer engagement.

Excellence

Since 2011 Dropifi, the graduates of the Ghanaian-based Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST), have been making waves in Ghana as well as internationally.

MEST trains smart young entrepreneurs in the area of information and communications technology (ICT).

After their two-year training, the school encourages graduates to group up, develop business plans and form businesses. Bankable viable ones are funded and housed as a modern incubator for startups where they benefit from technical support, hi-speed Internet and funding of between US$70,000 and US$100,000 for 18 months.

Dropifi co-founders, however, peaked during their training and therefore left the MEST after their first six months and spent the rest of the period at the United State’s Silicon Valley, where ICT giants are created.

This was after they had won the Global Startup Open competition where they beat 50 international startups to win the Kauffman Foundation Award; they were flown to Rio in March to attend the Global Entrepreneurship Congress (GEC) where they received the award.

Whilst in Rio, they showcased the programme to Dave McClure, Founder of 500 Startups, and shortly after, received an invitation to join the accelerator programme.

“Dropifi is the first African investment for 500 Startups. Very few seed investors in Silicon Valley will put money into markets as early as Africa, but we think talent exists in every corner of the globe. Dropifi has a killer team and a promising product with global reach. The fact that they hail from Ghana makes it even cooler,” Mr Dave McClure was quoted as saying.

In Silicon Valley, they enjoyed mentorship from top industry experts and other colleague startups from around the world to further develop the Dropifi widget and spread its use around the world.

The Meltwater magic

Interestingly, Dropifi is only one of the 12 companies that MEST has facilitated, which in their start-up stages are together employing 80 people.

The Business Development Fellow at MEST Incubator, Mr Anirudh Narla, told the GRAPHIC BUSINESS that the Incubator offered the most affordable office accommodation in the country.

He said there was so much potential in the country in the ICT sector, but the programme required additional funding from the private sector and direct support from the government.

The director said infrastructure was a challenge, as well as reliable Internet and penetration and smart phone use.

“Most of the companies here require additional funding but they don’t get access to it. Currently, we try to woo investors from UK and US,” Mr Narla said.

Secondly, hiring employees is often a challenge as there were not many talents cut for the industry.

Mr Narla suggested a special venture capital fund to promote ICT training and entrepreneurship in the country as was the case in countries such as the United States and Singapore, where the government had a lot of funding in the sector.

Currently, about 50 per cent of the companies operating in the incubator have apps targeting the local market, while the rest targets the global environment.

On visit at MEST, the U.S. Secretary of Commerce, Ms Penny Pritzker, interacted with the start-up companies in the incubator in May 18, urged them to work hard and pledged the support of the United States to remove some of the bottlenecks that hindered their efforts at dealing conveniently with US companies.

“This work is extremely important for global growth. We want our youth to start businesses. If we help with startups around the world, we can spur global growth,” she said when she later interacted with a segment of the media in Accra.

– See more at: http://graphic.com.gh/business/business-news/23658-how-dropifi-is-making-ghana-proud.html#sthash.R4NhPhCS.dpuf

Top 5 Smartphones for 2014

1. Apple iPhone 6 & 6 Plus

Best 10 smartphones at the close of 2014
Image: Apple

Apple surprised me by launching a device as large as the iPhone 6 Plus , but after spending nearly two months with it I am convinced the iPhone 6 Plus is nearly the perfect device for me.

I decided to include the iPhone 6 in my number one pick since it’s the same device as the iPhone 6 Plus, except for the size, battery capacity, and optical image stabilization in the camera. I suppose I could have gone with these iPhones as picks one and two, but the size will really drive which one buyers pick up and they are both excellent choices.

The elegant hardware design, industy-leading app store, vast accessory market, and consistent user experience make the iPhone the top choice. I’ve discovered that the camera is also tough to beat, both in terms of quality and usability. While many other devices offer compelling camera experiences, Apple’s implementation of time-lapse videos, slow motion, and HDR are incredible.

The Apple iPhone 6 and 6 Plus remain the most expensive smartphones available today with full prices ranging from $649 to $949 and two-year contract subsidized prices ranging from $199 to $499. For those of us who use our smartphones daily as an essential tool, the cost is justified.

2. Sony Xperia Z3

One of the reasons I returned my Sony Xperia Z2 was because it wasn’t available on a US carrier. Thankfully, Sony was able to launch the Xperia Z3 on T-Mobile and I bought one after taking the eval unit for a spin.

XperiaZ3
Image: Sony

US carrier support brings stronger RF reception and carrier enhancements, such as Wi-Fi Calling. I was also able to spread the cost out over a period of time rather than coming up with the $630 right away.

The Xperia Z3 is waterproof, has a solid camera, offers a nearly pure Google experience, and has an amazingly premium fit and finish. Specifications are at the top of the Android line with a fast 2.5 GHz processor, 32GB integrated storage, 3GB RAM, 20.7-megapixel camera, microSD expansion card slot, and 5.2-inch 1920 x 1080 display.

My T-Mobile SIM switches between the Z3 and iPhone 6 Plus, with the Z3 often getting more time in my pocket due to its waterproof capability that lets me run with it in the rain, the fantastic audio experience with the active noise-cancelling earbuds, and the ability to access everything on the device through the Android operating system.

3. New Moto X & Droid Turbo

motox
Image: Matt Miller/ZDNet

The 2014 Moto X is one of the best Android devices available with plenty of custom case options, nearly pure Google experience, and fantastic Motorola experience enhancements. The Droid Turbo is a slightly larger Moto X with a few tweaks made by Verizon Wireless.

Motorola continues to price the Moto X at a very reasonable $499 no-contract cost, with subsidies dropping it as low as $99. You can customize the Moto X with features such as a leather back and various colors. The Droid Turbo can be ordered with a unique carbon fiber back.

Some people are concerned with the 2,300 mAh battery on the Moto X. Even though this is a rather low capacity compared to other modern high-end smartphones, I have been able to consistently get through a long day with the Moto X. The Droid Turbo has a massive 3,900 mAh battery, but the high resolution display (2560 x 1140 pixels) ends up providing less than the two days that Motorola advertises.

4. Samsung Galaxy Note 4

GalaxyNote4
Image: Samsung

The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 was last year’s high-end Samsung device and the Note 4 does it again. Samsung finally improved the construction with a metal frame rather than the plastic chrome finish used in the past.

The Galaxy Note 4 is powered by a Snapdragon 805 quad-core processor, with a 5.7-inch 2560 x 1440 Super AMOLED screen, 3GB of RAM, 32GB internal storage with support for a microSD card, 16-megapixel camera, 3.7-megapixel front-facing camera, and large 3220 mAh replaceable battery.

If you like using the S Pen for productivity, then the Note 4 is clearly a number one pick for you. After seeing my wife’s Galaxy S5 act up continuously after several months of use, I am a bit apprehensive about buying a device with the TouchWiz software.

5. Google Nexus 6

N6-moreeverything-1600
Image: Google

Google released the Nexus 6 with an initial availability of devices that lasted for just a few minutes. Carrier launches have been delayed and it may be difficult for people to buy one in time for the holidays.

Google threw the reasonable Nexus pricing model out the window with the Nexus 6, which disheartened many people looking for a device as good as the Nexus 5 for a price less than the iPhone’s. The Nexus 6 is priced at $649 for 32GB and $699 for 64GB, which is still less than the iPhone 6 Plus, but $250 more than the Nexus 5 last year.

Unlike previous Nexus devices though, the Nexus 6 is not really lacking in any specification. It has a large 5.92-inch x resolution display, Snapdragon 805 processor, 3GB RAM, 32/64 GB internal storage, large 3,900 mAh battery, 20-megapixel camera, Qi wireless charging, and water resistance. This is the one device I have yet to test, but reports are that the camera is rather lackluster and the massive capacity battery does not perform as well as it should.

African smartphones and Tablets

Inye – Nigeria

RLG – From Ghana

Best Urban PT Systems in Africa in transition

1. Algiers, Algeria has the best Transportation in Africa. It has a Metro, Tram, Public buses with wifi

Algiers Metro One-way Ticket (Local Transport)0.20 $    0.15-0.30

Monthly Pass (Regular Price) 8.59 $  5.05-10.10

Taxi Start (Normal Tariff) 0.51 $
0.20
0.71
Taxi 1 mile (Normal Tariff) 0.49 $
0.33
0.98
Taxi 1hour Waiting (Normal Tariff) 7.58 $
5.58
10.10

2. Casablanca

Kilamba Morocco-Casablanca 13507769143_ef4e9322f3_b

One-way Ticket (Local Transport) 0.51 $
0.46
0.62
Monthly Pass (Regular Price) 20.56 $
15.42
20.56

Taxi Start (Normal Tariff) 0.72 $
0.62
0.82
Taxi 1 mile (Normal Tariff) 1.16 $
1.16
1.24
Taxi 1hour Waiting (Normal Tariff) 3.08 $
2.57
4.11
Gasoline (1 gallon) 4.05 $
3.77
4.28

3. Rabat

4. Cairo

One-way Ticket (Local Transport) $.26   (0.15-$.26)

One-way Ticket (Local Transport) 0.26 $
0.15
0.26

Taxi Start (Normal Tariff) 0.38 $
0.38
0.45
Taxi 1 mile (Normal Tariff) 0.29 $
0.26
0.41
Taxi 1hour Waiting (Normal Tariff) 1.91 $
1.91
2.55
Gasoline (1 gallon) 1.27 $
1.26
1.35

5. Johannesburg

One-way Ticket (Local Transport) 1.08 $
0.72
1.61
Monthly Pass (Regular Price) 46.21 $
32.15
64.29

content://media/external/file/21274

New trains for Johannesburg

Metrobus

Metrobus_1

The infamous minibus

Taxi Start (Normal Tariff) 2.21 $
1.61
4.02
Taxi 1 mile (Normal Tariff) 1.42 $
1.03
1.62
Taxi 1hour Waiting (Normal Tariff) 4.02 $
4.02
6.03
Gasoline (1 gallon) 3.91 $
3.50
4.26

6. Cape Town

train commuters New trains for Cape Town

7. Durban

eagle taxi.jpg (400×248)

taxi4.jpg (720×502)

Taxi Start (Normal Tariff) 0.80 $
0.40
0.80
Taxi 1 mile (Normal Tariff) 1.81 $
0.91
1.94
Taxi 1hour Waiting (Normal Tariff) 8.04 $
8.04
11.25
Gasoline (1 gallon) 4.13 $
3.94
4.36

 

One-way Ticket (Local Transport) 1.13 $
0.48
1.61

8. Addis Ababa

addis_ababa_LRT_trains_2

One-way Ticket (Local Transport) 0.25 $
0.25
0.25

The longest light rail tram system in Africa

Bus

Taxi Start (Normal Tariff) 1.61 $
1.00
2.50
Taxi 1 mile (Normal Tariff) 1.37 $
1.13
1.61
Taxi 1hour Waiting (Normal Tariff) 10.00 $
8.04
15.00
Gasoline (1 gallon) 3.82 $
3.56
4.16

9. Lagos Lagos BRT

Taxi Start (Normal Tariff) 2.51 $
2.51
2.51
Taxi 1 mile (Normal Tariff) 2.43 $
2.02
4.04
Taxi 1hour Waiting (Normal Tariff) 7.54 $
5.03
10.05
Gasoline (1 gallon) 1.76 $
1.66
1.90

lagos-nigeria-murtala-airport-1024x639.jpg (1024×639)

10. Dar Es Salaam

BRT

img_1483-e1422299553701

Taxi

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA
SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

Dar Es Salaam Commuter Rail

Airport

 

11. Nairobi Nairobi Commuter Rail network

Bus

One-way Ticket (Local Transport) 0.49 $
0.49
0.78

Taxi Start (Normal Tariff) 2.93 $
2.44
4.88
Taxi 1 mile (Normal Tariff) 3.14 $
1.57
3.93
Taxi 1hour Waiting (Normal Tariff) 4.88 $
2.44
7.82

 

12. Accra

One-way Ticket (Local Transport) 0.80 $
0.80
0.88

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Taxi Start (Normal Tariff) 1.80 $
1.61
2.00
Taxi 1 mile (Normal Tariff) 4.17 $
3.51
4.83
Taxi 1hour Waiting (Normal Tariff) 5.28 $
5.00
5.57
Gasoline (1 gallon) 3.90 $
3.41
4.50