DotWalker – A GPS App for Android

If any of you remember the gps Symbian app called loadstone, you will be happy to know that DotWalker for Android, is able to do many of the same things that Loadstone did and a lot more.

What is it exactly?

DotWalker is a travel assistant application primarily designed for blind and visually impaired users but it also enables eyes free control for everybody else.

This application provides navigation tools by handling a set of discrete points, which can be approached in several modes of control.

Next, you can use a talking compass if you feel like you might have lost your way.

Routes can be created manually, on the move simply by shaking the device, or with the help of Google maps direction service.

Points of interest can be enhanced by recording audio labels or linked to other media sources.

Special approach mode directs you to the desired point by announcing direction and distance.

Open street maps, can also be imported into DotWalker. I was able to do this with loadstone and have quite a few custom maps from those days.

On the point location can be supplemented by audio street view. Address announcement as an option. More is in the making. Currently published as limited lifetime test version.

My experience

I was so excited to check this one out that I didn't really bother about tracking documentation or anything similar. I just jumped right in.

"Irresponsible," I can hear some of you mumble but, not at all.

Unfortunately I ran into some problems when I tried to create a root with a Samsung Galaxy s4.

I wouldn't want you to think that I am trying to hide the good news from you.

So, below, please find the podcast showing you how it crashed on me. I was rather disappointed but, I'm sure a fix will come soon.

In the meanwhile I can report that the screen layout is quite simple to understand and that all buttons on the initial screen are properly labeled. However, it crashes when I attempt to select the nearest or roots options.

When you open the app, it will give an audible indication when it finds satellites.

From the top of the screen, below the status bar, we have:
The title, DotWalker
Then, it shows us the number of satellites that it is able to pick up.

In my case it said:

Sat: 14

In the next line, it said:

Root 1. 0 nearest

I suspect that this is a sort of status message to do with name of the root and how many other roots might be closeby. I might be wrong though.

Then, we have a huge empty space, probably intended for future use, before we hit the bottom of the screen where we are greeted by two rows.

The top row contains three columns and the bottom row contains two columns. Although one could technically say that it contains three columns since the middle column's spot is taken by the phone's physical home button.

Each column contains a button.

In row one, column one, we have the point button.
In row one, column two, there is an info button.

In row one, column three is a button labeled nearest.

In row two, column one, is a compass which works really well.
Then we have a physical home button, in my specific case where column two might have been if we were including the home button but, we are not so, in row two column two, just below column three which is in row one, we have the roots button.

Visit the DotWalker web site at

Get DotWalker on the Playstore.

So, that is it for the intro and my first bit of experience with DotWalker.

Below is the podcast to give you an audio version of my failure.


Pricing for the Samsung Galaxy S III and S III Mini in South Africa

Yet another price comparison.


Admittedly the Apple iPhone 5 and the Samsung Galaxy S 4 is out of the range of many users.  For this reason, I have decided to check out how much it would cost to get either the Samsung Galaxy S III or the little brother, S III Mini on contract or cash. Continue reading Pricing for the Samsung Galaxy S III and S III Mini in South Africa

Samsung Galaxy Note II

Firstly, I would like to thank Samsung Mobility South Africa for providing me with a test device for review.  It is really appreciated.


Before I get into the hardware specs, please note that the Podcast is primarily an audio demonstration of the Samsung Galaxy Note II.


I have also decided to split the podcast up into 5 parts.  The podcast is at the end of this post.  For those with screen readers, just jump the the headings.


And if you don’t feel like listening to the podcast or reading any further but, would like to know if this phone is for you…. The answer is:

It depends on you.

This phone is really powerful, has an absolutely stunning battery life; includes loads of features for those with some vision left and is also a lot more accessible thanks to the Android updates.  I love this phone and think that it deserves to be considered by the visual impaired folks who are looking for a really powerful Android device.


However, as always, try and get your hands on an actual device; play with it, if you can.

Go to your local Vodacom, MTN, Cell C, Virgin Mobile or 8ta outlet and ask them to activate the accessibility features by going to settings, accessibility and by turning talkback on.  Remember to turn the (Explore by touch) feature on if you are totally blind.  They do not need to download the voices or connect to the internet for this to work and shouldn’t take them long at all.




The Samsung Galaxy Note II brings twice the processing power, a brand new screen (of even larger size) and a bigger battery.  These are real attractive differentiating factors that made this phone a real pleasure to handle.


Let’s take a look at the hardware specs:


Key features

  • Quad-band GSM and quad-band 3G with 21 Mbps HSDPA and 5.76 Mbps HSUPA support
  • Optional LTE connectivity
  • 5.5″ 16M-color Super AMOLED capacitive touchscreen of HD (720 x 1280 pixel) resolution; Corning Gorilla Glass 2
  • Android OS v4.1 with TouchWiz launcher
  • 1.6 GHz quad-core Cortex-A9 CPU, Mali-400MP GPU, 2GB of RAM, Exynos 4412 Quad chipset
  • S Pen active stylus with deep system integration
  • 8 MP wide-angle lens autofocus camera with LED flash, face, smile and blink detection
  • 1080p HD video recording at 30fps
  • 16/32/64GB internal storage, microSD slot
  • Dual-band Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n support
  • GPS with A-GPS connectivity; GLONASS support, Digital compass
  • NFC support
  • Stereo Bluetooth v4.0
  • FM radio with RDS
  • microUSB port with USB host and TV-out (1080p) support, MHL, charging
  • Accelerometer, gyroscope and proximity sensor
  • Standard 3.5 mm audio jack
  • Great audio quality
  • Very slim at only 9.4mm
  • 1.9MP secondary video-call camera
  • Document editor and file manager comes preinstalled
  • Extremely rich video and audio codec support
  • Huge 3100 mAh ba


The Note II retail package includes a wall-mount charger, where you plug the supplied microUSB cable to charge your phablet. There’s also a nice one-piece headset with several spare earbuds (so you can find the right size for you).


The bad news is that the MHL adapter required for HD TV-out and the USB adapter enabling the USB host functionality aren’t included.


The Samsung Galaxy Note II N7100 measures 151.1 x 80.5 x 9.4 mm, which makes is slightly taller, but narrower and slimmer than its predecessor. And while it is notably larger than even the biggest droids with their 4.7-4.8″ screens, the Note II is reasonably easy to fit in a pocket.


The weight has remained virtually unchanged – the original Note tipped the scales at 178 g, while the Note II comes in at 180 g. It certainly won’t let you forget that it’s in your pocket, but to put things in another perspective, it weighs less than the Nokia Lumia 920 and that one has neither a 5.5″ screen, nor a 3100mAh battery.


The front panel of the Note II has several interesting elements other than the screen. On top is the earpiece, with the 1.9MP front-facing camera and proximity sensor to the right.

The ambient light sensor and the status LED are on the left side of the earpiece. From the settings you can choose the types of events that light up the LED – charging and low battery, missed calls and during voice recording (only if the screen is off).


Below the screen you’ll find the classic arrangement of physical hardware Home key flanked by the capacitive Menu and Back keys.


The sides of the Note II has a volume rocker on the left and a Power/Lock key on the right.


The top of the Samsung Galaxy Note II features the 3.5mm audio jack along with the secondary microphone, which handles noise reduction and stereo sound recording.


The primary mic is at the bottom, exactly opposite the secondary one. The microUSB port handles charging and data connections with a computer. It’s MHL-enabled, so you can output HD video through an HDMI adapter or enable USB Host via another adapter.


I must admit that the location of the Microphone initially gave me a few issues when I was using Zello and Voxer.  I kept covering the mic unintentionally with my finger whilst holding the the phone.


The stylus slot is at the bottom too, with the top of the S Pen curved to fit the shape of the Note II. The stylus itself isn’t perfectly round like the original stylus, so it doesn’t rotate in the slot, making it easier to put back in.

The back of the phablet looks pretty barren – it houses an 8MP camera lens and a single-LED flash near the top and the loudspeaker grille near the bottom.  You should be able to feel it.  The camera lens protrudes slightly, so the Note II rests on it when placed on a level surface, but judging from the original Note its hardened glass is not too easy to scratch.


The back cover is removable and below it you’ll find the 3100mAh battery along with the microSIM and microSD card slots. The SIM card compartment is blocked by the battery, but the memory card is hot-swappable. The NFC antenna is on the back cover, so you are free to replace the battery without losing the NFC connectivity.


The Samsung Galaxy Note II runs on Android 4.1.1 Jelly Bean.


The Samsung Galaxy Note II is powered by a Samsung-made Exynos 4412 Quad chipset with four Cortex-A9 cores clocked at 1.6GHz, 2GB of RAM and a Mali-400 GPU.

Frankly, quite a punch in that combination.


And now for the five part podcast.



Part 1: First look at the samsung note ii

Part 2: Making and receiving calls on the samsung galaxy note ii

Part 3: voice recorder note ii

Part 4: Moving from one reading level to the next samsung galaxy note ii

Part 5: Unlocking the lock screen on galaxy note ii

Samsung Galaxy S III – Audio demonstration and opinion

Thanks to Samsung, I am able to bring you a taste of the new Samsung Galaxy s III.

Specifications are at the end of this post.



Network/Bearer and Wireless Connectivity

  • EDGE / GPRS (850 / 900 / 1,800 / 1,900MHZ)
  • HSPA+ 21 (850 / 900 / 1,900 / 2,100)
  • 802.11a/b/g/n
  • WiFi Direct
  • GAP, SSP, HSP, HFP1.5, A2DP, SPP, OPP, PBAP, MAP, AVRCP 1.3, HID NFC available
  • DLNA, MHL 1.0, HDMI 2 support
  • KIES, KIES Air support


  • 16M
  • 4.8″
  • 720 x 1280 (HD)


  • 16 / 32 / 64GB


  • Marble White

Services and Applications

  • Samsung Apps available
  • Game hub
  • ChatON available
  • ActiveSync available
  • B-to-B Compability : Sybase / Webex / Device encryption / Cisco etc.


  • Android 4.0 (ICS)


  • 2,100 mAh
  • Upto 1,300 min (2G) / upto 650 min (3G)
  • Upto 900 hrs (2G) / upto 750 hrs (3G)


  • Quad Core Application Processor
  • 1.4GHz CPU Speed


  • USB2.0
  • 3.5pi, Stereo
  • MicroSD (upto 64GB)
  • MicroSIM
  • Micro USB available
  • MHL available

Audio and Video

  • MPEG4, H.264, H.263, VC-1. DivX, VP8, WMV7 / 8, Sorenson Spark, DivX 3.11
  • Full HD (1080p) Video Recording & Playback
  • Recording up to 30fps
  • MP3, AMR-NB / WB, AAC / AAC+ / eAAC+, WMA, OGG (Vorbis), FLAC, AC-3, apt-X

Physical Specification

  • 136.6 x 70.6 x 8.6mm
  • 133g


  • 8 Megapixels Camera Resolution (Rear)
  • CMOS , 1.9MP
  • LED (1EA)


  • Accelerometer, Geo-magnetic, Gyro, RGB Light, Barometer sensor


  • Assisted GPS / GLONASS available

Please note: Features & Specifications may vary per country and are subject to change without prior notice

Zello, free Walky Talky application for Android, Blackberry, iOS and the PC.

Zello is a free program that will allow you to talk to people from all over the world, with your voice. It works on Android phones, Blackberry devices, Apple’s iOS devices and computers.

In this podcast, I demonstrate very briefly, what Zello sounds like on the computer and on my Android device.

Visit Zello on the net at to download Zello for the pc.

If you are using Android, Blackberry or an iOS device, visit the respective market places to download Zello. Remember that it is free.