One day you wake up and in the usual rush that is almost becoming a norm then later remember you forgot your phone in the house. Think of it. Your workplace could be miles away or maybe you are a student and have to catch a class. What do you do? Here is what I think. You get to your best friend then explain to him or her what happened in the hope that they may help when you need to make a call. But times have changed. The friend might have to turn your request down because his credit has got way ‘better’ things to do or maybe he just doesn’t have credit on it. I’d say you are to blame but of course I am sympathizing with you. This scenario gave birth to an android app that is the solution to the problem; MyPal.

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A group of students converges on the 22nd of December 2012 at Dedan Kimathi University for an annual hackathon event. In the group are two students from JKUAT university who later team up with other three students of the host university to form a group that would answer the previous question. The team has 48hrs to sit down and plan on turning the then idea into a reality; an app. I was part of the team. The two visiting students had actually extensively researched on the problem and had figured out that it was workable. The task at hand was to code it and basically add some other features. In about 30hrs, MyPal was born.

MyPal is an android app that seeks to solve a couple of problems. Let me take you back. Realizing that you have forgotten your phone, this app will make it pretty simple. All you have to do is borrow a phone; here’s a thumbs up, it doesn’t have to have credit. What MyPAl does is to query your phone, send to your friend’s phone any number you want retrieved and then you can make a call from your friend’s phone with the charges on your sim card. Here is what the app allows you to do:

  • Query you phone for specific contacts. You just have to remember the first two letters of the contact name.
  • Retrieve saved messages from your phone.
  • Save a new contact to your phone.
  • Forward message to other phone.
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A screen shot of MyPal app.

Then came another idea latter. What if you misplaced you phone in your place but you had put it in a silent mode? The app allows you to change the mode of your phone( to either silent, vibrating or ringing modes) from your friend’s phone. Thereby in the above situation, it will be easy to find your phone. All this is possible through a couple of specific query methods that you make for each operations. No worries, the queries are provided for in the app’s help button.

Pros.

The app basically has lots of advantages but the main one is that your friend’s phone does not have to be an android phone. If at all your friend’s phone is not an android one or say it doesn’t have MyPal app, all queries are made through short messaging service(sms).

Thumbs down.

On the down side, the might have security issues in a situation where users have same passwords and make same queries though this is highly unlikely.

You pretty much understand the app now and know why we settled on the name MyApp because basically it’s all about borrowing a pal their phone. The app is currently not available on Google Play since there are some improvements that are to be made and the two guys are also to present an improved version in Nairobi early next month. But it will roll out soon. I have it on my phone and I love it. Matter of fact, sometimes I make sure I forget my phone :). Watch out for it!

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