Tuesday, April 5, 2011

I'm Still Alive! I'm Now a Writer at BerryReview!

Dear loyal follower(s), 

I apologize for my neglect of this, my little blog. I will continue to post here, but there will be fewer articles because my new blogging focus has moved to www.BerryReview.com. 

 I have been a more passive member of BerryReview for a couple of years. They have been running monthly contests for readers to win a BlackBerry PlayBook. Every comment on the blogs or forums or any tip submission counted as an entry to win. In February, I decided to have a go at the PlayBook and started posting as much useful content as I could. The editor, Ronen Halevy, noticed some of my posts and asked if I wanted to contribute to the site as a writer. I, of course agreed and I have been writing for BerryReview ever since. 

Unfortunately I did not win the PlayBook in February, but I've been having a great time getting my writing out there to a bigger audience. 

Check out some of the articles I have posted so far (most recent first):

Saturday, February 5, 2011

My BlackBerry Is Not Working!

My sister in law just showed me this absolutely hilarious video clip. It features the legendary Ronnie Corbett from the UK. 

If you are not one of the over 11 million that have checked this out, its definitely worth the 2 min 53 seconds.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

BlackBerry PlayBook vs. Apple iPad

The highly anticipated BlackBerry PlayBook is set to launch in the next few months. I have waited to post anything on the PlayBook for as long as possible to get a real idea of what its all about and the details. As I have researched and compared, I have been hard pressed to find anything that the iPad does that the PlayBook can't do better. Of course Apple is working feverishly to fix all of their mistakes and release the iPad 2, but that is not surprising.
As shown above, the iPad lacks flash. Flash seems to me like it is a basic feature of any browser. According to Steve Jobs, Flash is a relic. “Flash was created during the PC era –- for PCs and mice,” he says, “but the mobile era is about low power devices, touch interfaces and open web standards –- all areas where Flash falls short.” Some of his arguments are actually logical and make sense, but it seems like the iPad is trying to be something its not; a highly advanced, futuristic device. Flash may be a "third party layer of software" between developers and potential amazing apps, but Flash is also the source of over 50,000 games and 75% of all video on the web. If nothing else, the lack of Flash is an annoyance that necessitates workarounds. This flies in the face of Apple's intuitive, easy to use reputation.
A screen comparison shows that the iPad's is obviously larger (9.7" compared to 7"), but the resolution is very close to the same (1024 x 768 on the iPad, and 1024 x 600 on the PlayBook), meaning higher pixel density on the PlayBook. This also means that the PlayBook is much more portable.
What about the camera? Well RIM could have tossed a low-res vga camera into the PlayBook and would have beaten iPad hands down since iPads DO NOT HAVE a camera. Perhaps cameras are considered third party hardware that would just get in the way of the brilliance of the sleek, aura that Apple fanboys everywhere adore. Either that, or Apple forgot. I'm pretty sure the iPad 2 will have a camera. The PlayBook boasts not only a front facing 3MP camera for videoconferencing, but there is also a rear facing 5MP camera that shoots true 1080p video - a first for any tablet or smartphone.

Although processor comparisons are subjective due to different operating systems and hardware, it comes down to this: the iPad has one core running at 1GHz, the PlayBook has 2.

Recently there have been questions regarding the battery life of the PlayBook and whether it can compete with the iPad. RIM’s Jeff McDowell, senior vice-president for business and platform marketing, rebuffs analysts battery life concerns. According to McDowell "It’s going to be equal or greater than the iPad with smaller battery size."

The one thing that Apple has the upper hand in is apps. Obviously Apple's App Store is second to none with over 250,000 (all very useful) apps to choose from. About 25,000 of these are optimized for the iPad. However; along with the announcement regarding battery life of the PlayBook, McDowell also let out that RIM plans on having about 4,000 third party PlayBook apps available at launch which is impressive. It took RIM months to get that many in App World.

The PlayBook has managed to outspec the iPad in many key categories (a rare feat for any RIM device) and will provide real competition for a good share of the growing tablet market. What do you think?

Monday, January 17, 2011

BBM Groups!

I've been messing around with BBM groups for a while now and they are amazing. It is a great way to stay in touch with family and friends, coordinate work or school projects or get to know complete strangers from across the world. BBM groups make it easy to chat and share pictures and files. The other thing I really like about the BBM groups is the privacy aspect. You're not sharing pictures with anyone who might see them. Only people in the group see what you share.

A big thanks to Joseph Holder over at crackberry.com for reminding me of the goodness of BBM groups and posting a great article about them. I highly recommend his article that you can find here.

Friday, January 14, 2011

BlackBerry Torch 2, Apollo (Curve), Monaco (Storm 3) and Dakota (Bold) Pics and Specs!

Pictures of the brand new devices RIM has been working on have surfaced and they look very nice. From what I've learned about the specs, these are much improved versions. More details below.

The BlackBerry Dakota. (Bold)
Looks like a tribute to the Bold 9000 in terms of size and style. It Mixes the full QWERTY with a touchscreen and records HD video. Very sweet.
The BlackBerry Monaco (Storm 3)
Rumored specs of the Monaco:
  • 1.2GHz processor
  • 3.7-inch 800 x 480 capacitive display
  • Quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE
  • Tri-band UMTS/HSPA
  • 5-megapixel camera with 720p video recording
  • 8GB eMMC (storage for apps and data), 512MB of RAM
  • microSD slot
  • Magnetometer
  • Proximity sensor
  • Accelerometer
  • Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR
  • 2.4GHz b/g/n and 5GHz a/n Wi-Fi + UMA
  • 3G Mobile hotspot
  • Optical trackpad
  • 1230 mAh battery
  • BlackBerry OS 6.1
  • OpenGL ES 2.0
The BlackBerry Apollo (Curve)
Full specs of the Apollo:
  • Quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE
  • Tri-band UMTS/HSPA 7.2Mbps
  • Bluetooth 2.1
  • Wi-Fi b/g/n
  • GPS
  • NFC
  • 512MB of eMMC, 512MB of RAM
  • 5-megapixel camera with flash
  • HVGA 480 x 360 display
  • 1050 mAh battery
  • Tavor MG-1 800MHz CPU
  • BlackBerry OS 6.1
  • 11mm thin
The BlackBerry Torch 2

Here's what I've found for specs of the Torch 2:
  • 1.2GHz processor
  • Quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE
  • Tri-band HSPA 14.4Mbps
  • 3.2-inch VGA 640 x 480 capacitive display
  • 8GB built-in memory
  • 512MB RAM
  • Bluetooth 2.1
  • GPS
  • NFC
  • 5MP camera with flash
  • Magnetometer
  • 1300 mAh battery
  • BlackBerry OS 6.1
  • OpenGL ES
  • 14.6mm thin
Which one do you want? I'm leaning towards the Torch 2 but it looks like it doesn't support HD video recording. The Dakota and Storm 3 do support it, but I love the big touchscreen-full keyboard combo.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Free FaceChat App From JaredCo

After trying the free 'Chat for Facebook' from App World I was greatly disappointed. It was not user-friendly and cumbersome to navigate.

The FaceChat App by JaredCo makes things a little easier. As you can see above, the chat interface is clean and familiar and you can use enter to send messages. The one hiccup people might run into is logging in. It requires your username which is different than your email you normally use to login to the site. You can easily find your username by going to your profile on a computer. Your username will be whatever is after the '/' after www.facebook.com in the address bar. For example: My username is jay.harker and I found that in the address bar of my browser. www.facebook.com/jay.harker.

Download FaceChat here.

Either that, or don't.