Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!


To you and yours

Wherever you are

Merry Christmas!


Thursday, December 24, 2009

My Top Picks for 2009

It's becoming something of a tradition now for me to list my top picks for the year gone by. In 2007 I listed the Kindle and the Centro amongst others. In 2008 my list included gems like the Macbook Air and the Blackberry Bold (how prophetic!). This year, it was really hard to narrow down my list to just 10 items. After much internal debate, here's what I've got:

1. Twilight


This has been the year of the Vampire with everything from True Blood to Vampire Diaries cashing in. And the trend begins and ends with Twilight.

2. Snuggie


Who knew so many people needed to keep warm but also keep their arms free? Well, there you go. Its a Snuggie.

3. The Palm Pre


The actual success of the Palm Pre is debatable, but what is undeniable is that Palm has thrown everything they have into this last ditch effort to salvage their company. Will it work? Only time- and more apps- will tell.

4. Cloud Computing


Because of- or in spite of- the Sidekick mishap of this fall, almost everyone has some awareness of the concept of keeping data in the cloud. And as data speeds continue to increase, more data will be stored in more accessible ways.

5. Twitter

What was once an underground uber-geeky way to communicate has now become the new Facebook. Everyone is on it, and its now accepted as a relatively trustworthy news source. Just about every mobile device has an app for it, and its become a standard feature to list.

6. Netbooks


Perhaps because of the runaway success of Cloud computing (or as the cause of it), the netbook has taken us by storm. This year it seems like every manufacturer released one, and many households bought one.

7. Modern Warfare 2


Controversial, immersive, and on just about every gamer's wishlist this year.

8. (An)Droid


Talk about a stealth attack! This time last year we were tittering at the Tmobile G1 (and rightfully so- that hardware is fug!) and now there are more Android phones than I can name in one sitting (Droid, Hero, MyTouch, to name a few). Android brings the freshness WM is lacking, the multi-tasking the iPhone doesn't and the cool factor that has ever eluded RIM, its no wonder this platform is taking off.

9. Gestures


If you had a touchscreen device this year- then you were gesturing: pinch to zoom , swipe, shake to shuffle....and don't even get me started on the Wii motions! I predict this will only get worse in the next year, leading to the release of Microsoft's project Natale.

10. B&N Nook


Although only a small percent of the population actually has it yet, the Nook has been one of the most interesting devices in a long time. An Ereader that runs Android, could potentially run a Twitter app, that uses Gestures on its touchscreen, and you could use while Snuggie-d up on the couch? Epic Win!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A Month of Onyx


Its been a full month with my new Onyx and I must admit- I'm in love. Everything works as it should, the compact size means I never have to put it down, and the battery life is absolutely wonderful.
Enough time has passed that I now feel completely comfortable on the platform and I have significantly raised my expectations for my second Blackberry device. With the additional memory and improved OS, everything runs smoothly and I can load up on as many apps as my heart desires.
Once again I feel totally connected- between BBM, the new Beejive IM, deeper Facebook functionality, SocialScope, a new threaded texting interface reaching out is as simple as picking up my Onyx. I've also been taking my Evernote usage to a whole other level- I archive just about every conversation, take photos of every receipt, and jot every thought that comes to my head- secure in the knowledge that it will be easy to refer to later.
Batterylife has become something that I don't even have to monitor anymore. At the end of my 15 hour day- even with the heaviest of use- I end up with about 60%. I remember a time when getting through just 8 hours was a challenge (Windows Mobile-I'm looking at you!).
On the apps front its been a slow march toward total satisfaction. In the past month there have been a slew of high-quality apps that have been developed or vastly improved- eBay, AP Mobile, TiVo Scheduler to name a few.
I can't think of a single gripe I have with my Onyx-honestly. Everything from the camera to the keyboard is just the improvement over the Bold I was hoping for.

December 22nd BlackBerry Outage Timeline and Overview of Events


Sent to you by Lulu via Google Reader:


via blogs by Kevin Michaluk on 12/23/09

BlackBerry Outage according to BoxTone

Our friends at BoxTone hit us up with an email earlier today with some information of how things played out yesterday from both their and their customers' perspective. We've talked about BoxTone lots of times here before on CrackBerry - they focus on enterprise companies that have a LOT of BlackBerry Smartphones running and provide monitoring and managements services. An afternoon like yesterday is where their services really make an impact. Here's what they told us (all times EST):

  • Between 3:00 and 4:00 PM - Problems with BBM and BIS internet browsing reported around the web (I personally experienced around 3:30 PM).
  • Between 6:30 and 7:00 PM - The problem extended to BES email, preventing the delivery of BES emails to and from BlackBerry smartphones. At each of our customers, BoxTone detected a greater than normal quantity of users with messages pending, based on our learned baseline of what is normal for each server and carrier, and immediately generated a warning alert our customers before the flood of user calls (Sample email alert below). BoxTone also placed all affected BES and Carriers in a Critical state on our customers' Operations Dashboards (depicted by the red dots next to each BES and carrier). The steady growth in Pending Messages beginning around 6:45 is annotated in the attached screenshot and continued until the issue was resolved early this morning. From our monitoring data, it appears that BES were able to communicate with the RIM NOC throughout the outage; however, the NOC was unable to deliver messages.
  • At approximately 12:09 AM, BoxTone detected a brief disconnect in the SRP connection of each BES to the NOC; it appears RIM reset the NOC SRP connection to complete their fixes. Following this reset, delivery of BES mail resumed.
  • By 2:45 AM or earlier, BoxTone detected that most of our customers had returned to their normal (baselined) service levels, and that the backlog of pending mail had been delivered. BoxTone generated notifications informing our users that their service levels had returned to normal and updated the status of the BES and carriers to Normal.

Pretty interesting stuff. Big thanks to Mitch and the BoxTone team for sharing it with us. You can learn more about their services at's feed sponsored by December 22nd BlackBerry Outage Timeline and Overview of Events, According to BoxTone


Things you can do from here:


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Home Shopping Fail

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Top 10 Reasons I Love My Blackberry

Photo courtesy of Kodath

1. Bedside Mode- each night I drop it in the pod it dims and shows a clock as it charges
2. Pods- no need to fumble with cords, just drop it into the charging pod.
3. Shortcuts- a whole host of apps are just a single key press away
4. Keyboard- it comfortable, roomy and a total pleasure to type on
5. Customized LED- no need for noise- I can take a look at my phone and by the color know exactly what's trying to get my attention.
6. Socialscope- One app that keeps me in the loop with all my social networks (Twitter, Facebook, Flickr and Foursquare)
7. Context menus- being able to so easily share my pictures, webpages, and everything else makes a usually isolated experience so social
8. Tivo DVR Scheduler- not only can I set up shows to record, I can see what's interesting to watch for the week.
9. Trackpad- being able to navigate with nothing more than a feather light touch over the pad- without getting my screen all grubby- is a joy.
10. Battery Life- I can comfortably run over 2 full days on a single charge!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Battery Watch- Onyx Edition

Let me show you something quite astounding:



Here's the amazing part- both days ran on a single charge! I took my phone off the charger at 6:30 on Saturday morning and didn't charge it again until Sunday night, at which point it still looks like I could have gone another half a day.

I've always wondered what multi-day usage would feel like, and I'm glad to finally be able to experience it myself without having to constantly be worried about keeping a weary eye on the meter! Battery life on the Onyx is truly amazing!

Monday, December 7, 2009

2010 Anticipation

Next year is going to be a thrilling one in the mobile tech space. In its second year, WebOS might be able to gather some real momentum. Blackberry has been able to shake its strictly corporate persona and Windows Mobile 6.5 will be paving the road to WinMo 7 (hopefully).
Recently the HTC 2010 lineup was leaked and as expected, there were a ton of Android devices in the mix. Then I spotted this sexy beast which is exactly what I had been waiting for back in 2007 and 2008- a VGA Qwertybar phone called the Trophy running Windows Mobile:

And if that wasn't enough, its also rumored to have a 3.0 inch capacitive screen, a 5MP camera and a 1400mAh battery. Wow.
While I felt a bit let down by the summer of 2009, I can definitely see myself revving up for a more interesting 2010!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Battery Up, Battery Down

If you're a regular visitor here, then you know that one of my favorite pastimes is monitoring smartphone battery usage. I've been battery obsessed since the days of my Treo 600 when my 3+ hour daily commute had me paranoid about running out of juice.
I honestly can't remember what my battery life was like on my Treo 600 and 650. I wasn't really what I'd call a 'power-user' back in those days. I do remember toting a charger when we'd take day trips, for what its worth.
Windows Mobile always had poor battery life with the apps I was running. No matter which device I had (except for the Ubiquio) availability of a spare battery was always a prerequisite. In fact, it was finally the poor battery life that drove me to the Bold.
Battery life on my Bold and now Onyx have been exceptional. I obsess over it simply because of my nature and not out of any necessity at all. And this Easter I learnt a very valuable lesson about the importance of having long battery life. You can always prepare by grabbing a charger or spare battery, but what happens when an unforeseen circumstance takes you out of your usual routine?
While browsing the PreCentral forums I found this intriguing thread which was all about tracking the battery life on the Palm Pre. The runtime results were abysmal! And the final kicker was the unfortunate owner who was experiencing over 16% drain rate per hour. It reminds me to be grateful for the battery life I enjoy on my Onyx everyday, and the spontaneity that it affords me

Thursday, December 3, 2009

My Top 12 Blackberry Apps

A forum thread 0ver at Crackberry has prompted me to list my top 12 Blackberry Apps of 2009. And they are:

1. Pandora (Free)-Streaming music

Pandora for Blackberry

2. BerryBuzz($5.95)- Customize LED

3. BerryWeather ($9.95)-Weather App with homescreen temp badge


4. Viigo (Free)-RSS News reader with advanced sharing options to Facebook and Twitter

5. SocialScope (Free)-Twitter, Facebook, Flickr all in one stream


6. Podtrapper ($9.99)-Video and Audio podcast player with auto updating


7. IM+ ($39.95) -Multi-protocol IM messenger with push notifications to save battery life

8. Ascendo Money ($29.95)-Money manager

9. eBay (Free)- bid, watch buy on eBay with notifications and add to calendar feature


10. Genicious (Free)- Delicious Bookmark manager


11.Poynt (Free)- Local search and maps

12. Flixster (Free)- Movie showtimes, reviews and trailers.