Category Archives: Phones

3G, or not 3G…that, is the question.

So I’ve been thinking about buying a blackberry curve 8520 to use until my contract is up in 6 months…the reason i’ve chosen the 8520 is because all the other blackberries are really expensive to buy outright, and there’s a good chance I’ll be getting an iPhone when I renew my contract. So basically the 8520 is the only berry I can justify buying for 6 months use. And for those that don’t understand why it is necessary for me to buy a new phone just to last me until my contract is up, the answer is that I have a blackberry storm. Perhaps the most underpowered overrated blackbery ever made.
Ok so as usual the Dale digresses. The one thing that is making me hesitate getting the curve is the lack of 3G. But today I started thinking…what has 3G done for me? I’ve had full 3G signal since the day I got my phone just over a year ago, and to be totally honest…3G is fucking useless. I mean yes. It is faster…marginably…but it is also incredibly unreliable and finnicky. Often I find myself turning it back to 2G (GPRS or EDGE) just to get a consistant signal. And when it’s on 2G I have NEVER noticed the speed reduction. There is one thing that people fail to realize. you do not need a faster connection for 99.5% of the things you do on your cell phone. Unless you watch live streaming tv, 3G is downright unecessary. Even streaming radio can easily be handled by a 2G connection. so that’s it people…I said it. The concept of 3G being a necessity when buying a new phone is a result of hype. It’s overrated, unreliable and utterly unecessary in terms of current technology. And for the record, I’ve subscribed to live TV for the past 6 months and it’s a novelty. Watching live football through a grainy 3 inch window is exciting for the first couple of matches but overall the experience blows rhino nuts. So the dales verdict? time to buy a curve.

Why my new ipod touch makes me want to ditch my blackberry

First and foremost I am currently writing this blog post on my iPod touch via the wordpress app I downloaded today. And this, my friends is exemplary of the reason I felt possessed to write this article in the first place: this goddamn thing can do everything.

Ever since I got my first blackberry over a year ago I have been fiercely loyal to the brand, loving the fact that I don’t have to pay expensive text messaging charges to talk to my girlfriend and family overseas. Because of this one unique benefit of the blackberry, I have politely overlooked the rest of the phone’s flaws…until now.
I was fortunate enough to receive an iPod touch for Christmas and my, my, how it has exceeded my expectations. I initially wanted one to fuse together the psp and the iPod nano I have been dragging around and essentially have my gaming and my music come from the same device. Mission accomplished. But what I was not prepared for was the ridiculous breadth of applications you could get for the device. Not only do I have more than enough choice in the gaming department but I have found apps to write my blogs read my daily newspaper get live commentary on football games find places that will deliver me a big dirty kebab right to my door measure how far I walk in a day test my wifi speed view my xbox live friends list and, most importantly control my pc from the comfort of my couch with one thumb.
Now I am fully aware that alot of these things are common tasks that can be accomplished in many different ways, your blackberry being included, but what sets the iPod touch and consequently the iPhone apart from everything else is the unbeatable simplicity of the device. Finding, reviewing, downloading and using apps on the iPod is not only an easy process, but a downright enjoyable one to boot. The whole experience is nearly flawless.
Now let’s talk about the blackberry experience (all bb users should be cringing at this point because I know YOU know what’s coming). Blackberry’s operating system sucks. let’s be honest folks, it is primitive in comparison to many modern day systems such as the iPhone os, windows mobile and even some of nokia and samsung’s offerings. My experience is especially bad as I have the original blackberry storm. As we speak I tried to reply to my girlfriends bbm only to be met with the always-welcome never-intrusive black rotating circle of hourglass hell. Sure the blackberry can accomplish many of the tasks that the iPhone can but it just does not work as well! Omitting blackberry messenger and email, the iPhone is superior in every facet. And believe you me, the Dale HATES all that is apple. Macs are for trendy morons and iPhones are for people who buy macs. this has been my mentality ever since the iPhone came out and I have had absolutely no desire to own one whatsoever…until now.
In fact, when I last signed a contract, it would have been easier and cheaper for me to buy an iPhone but I changed providers and paid more to get the storm. Now, I think that was a mistake. Plagued (and I mean like bubonic plague) by issues since the day I got it, I just don’t think that bbm and email balance out the negatives. I say this now that I have been introduced to the seamless experience that is Apple.
I just realized i’ve been rambling but I’m going to publish this anyway as a test post from the WordPress app. Basically, to sum up what I was trying to say is: once upon a time the Dale loved his blackberry. much like a really hot girlfriend, he overlooked the fact that it was kind of slow and pissed him off alot because the other benefits were just SO good. Now that the Dale has had a taste of what it’s like to have a pretty hot girlfriend who’s intellect is on par with her looks, but doesn’t do EVERYTHING the other girlfriend did, he’s decided that he wants to stick with the more balanced option. When the Dale’s contract is up in 4 months, he’s joining the elite group of mac-buying morons that he once loathed. I’m buying an iPhone. As for convincing me macs are better than pc’s, and in the spirit of my previous girlfriend analogy, I believe meatloaf said it best when he said “I would do anything for love…but I won’t do that”.
Keep f***ing that chicken
– Dale

Dontcha wish your ‘Berry was hot like this…

Behold, the most expensive blackberry ever made. This phone, made by U.K designer Alexander Amosu, features 4,459 brilliant cut diamonds totalling a staggering 28.43 carats, all set right at home in solid 18 carat yellow gold. Wanna know how much it is? I’ll give you a hint….it costs exactly the same amount as a 2009 Lamborghini Gallardo LP-560-4. Yes. A brand new Lamborghini. The answer is $240,000.

So the question is…would you rather be driving one of the hottest cars on the road, or buying a phone that will likely last you no longer than 2 years max? Considering Blackberry’s are not exactly known to be a particularly reliable fruit, I think the choice is clear. Not to mention the fact that you’re gonna look super douchelike when the next generation Curve comes out. I can hear it now “Oh hey man, is that the old curve with a bunch of swarovski’s on it? how much did that set you back…musta been like 800 bucks!” This is the point where you sheepishly agree that it DID indeed cost you $800 bucks. You do NOT mention the other $239, 200.

If you want to see an array of other ridiculously exorbitant Blackberrys, feel free to check out a slideshow right here….but keep in mind, none of them come even close to this beast. Gluttonous.

Blackberry Messenger 5.0 Review: Talk about new and improved!

bbm5.0

If you’re reading this, chances are you are a fellow Berryhead. Well I’m going to give you some great news. Everyone’s favourite blackberry-exclusive chat program is about to get a serious upgrade, and I know, ’cause I SEEN IT.

Depending on how aware you are of your phone’s functions, you might know that all the newer Blackberrys are running on 4.7 software. Well recently, 5.0 software was leaked somewhere through a tiny crack in RIM headquarters, based in Waterloo, Ontario, and trickled its way onto my phone. After running the 5.0 Blackberry Messenger for a bit over a month now, I think im qualified to give you a decent review of what you can expect when it is OFFICIALLY released.

First thing you notice when you start up bbm 5.0 is that your conversations/friends list looks completely different. There is an avatar (picture) next to each persons name, as well as a little green dot (meaning that they’re available. It turns yellow or red depending on the status of the individual). There are two bars at the top of the page. A black bar showing your own information and picture, and also a new bar ¬†that says “Recent Updates”. As the name implies…this is where your Recent Updates are (added contacts, status updates etc.) This is a pretty good feature but it gets annoying because the the updates don’t clear themselves automatically, you have to go in and clear them. This could be a bug with the leaked version. Here is a picture of your home screen.

                                                                                    Boy Genius Report
Boy Genius Report

Now onto the conversation window. The conversation window is pretty similar, with some updated fonts. The most noticeable difference is that each comment is put in a speech bubble, which looks pretty cool. It looks cleaner and more refined. There are a completely new set of emoticons, and although its always refreshing to get new emoticons, these ones are actually not as good as those on the current bbm 4.7. Again, perhaps because its an early beta. Here’s a pic of the convo window:

for the uncensored NSFW version of this pic, hit up my facebook ;)
for the uncensored NSFW version, hit up my facebook ūüėČ

So those are the two screen you will see more than anything else. But the real upgrade are the new features that have been infused into BBM 5.0. First and most noticeable is the barcode system. If you haven’t heard about this system, then you should know it is probably the coolest new addition to bbm. Each phone has a unique barcode, and you can add someone to bbm by taking a picture of their barcode. No, seriously. Your camera automatically recognizes it and adds that person to your bbm list. No need for ridiculous PIN exchanges anymore. This could work well at a noisy club when you’re getting a girl’s phone number, or in a library, or at a funeral. It would also work well if you wanted to post your barcode on facebook or something like that and give free reign to your friends list ¬†(of course, you could just post your PIN…but thats not very fun now is it?) . Here’s a pic.

no, I'm not going to add you so dont bother trying.
no, I'm not going to add you so dont bother trying.

Another awesome new feature is Location Sharing. Much like Google Latitude, you can give your friends permission to see where you are through your device’s GPS. Great way to keep tabs on your girlfriend, or your dope smokin kids, or the girl you plan on stalking asking out for a nice seafood dinner. Fortunately, they have put in the option to change permission for each person on your list, so you don’t have to display your whereabouts to that creepy friend that gets really angry when you avoid his calls. Otherwise he might come confront you wherever you may be. Here’s a pic of the new Contact Info Screen

Don't worry blakey, I blurred out your pin. It'll be ok
Don't worry blakey, I blurred out your pin. It'll be ok

The final thing I’ll show you is your Edit my Info page, and the biggest difference here is the “Show What I’m listening to” feature. As the name implies, and much like MSN, you can display the song you’re listening to on your blackberry to your friends. HOW EXCITING! Pic:

edit my info

So to wrap things up, I’ll fire off the menu features that I couldn’t get a screenshot of, but I won’t explain any of them because they’re self explanatory. If you need further verification as to what these things are, then jump off a bridge use google.

  • Broadcast Message (send mass msg to all your friends)
  • Group Chat
  • Backup/Restore Contact List
  • Copy/Email Chat History
  • Set Subject of Chat
  • Customizable Status’

Overall, I think there is nothing absolutely amazing about bbm 5.0, but they have done ALOT of work compared to prior bbm updates. The reason I’m not amazed is because alot of this stuff was long overdue, and felt like it should have been there in the first place. The barcode system, although somewhat pointless, is really really cool, the location sharing should be fun when you’re bored and the refreshingly colourful new conversation window is a welcome addition. I’m looking forward to getting the official release, because I could write another full post on the bugs that plague the leaked version. But you wouldn’t care. and I cant be bothered.

Google Voice Review: Finally! Someone to bully the phone companies!

I’m sure everyone reading this post can relate to the fact that long distance phone calls from a mobile phone are generally too expensive to even think about making. And when you do make them, you rush through the conversation as quickly as possible in order to fit a 5 or 10 minute conversation into 2 minutes (or no more than 1 minute 59 seconds, so as to avoid the 3rd minute charge). As I live overseas, away from all my friends and family, this is an issue that often bothers me. In all honesty, it sucks. It has been my number one complaint, and would be the first thing i’d fix with my wireless service. CHEAPER LONG DISTANCE CALLING.
But how about FREE long distance calling? That sounds even better. In fact, that sounds great. At this point, I should assure you that I’m not trying to sell anything, I dont have some magical calling card, or some magical jack (if you’ve seen the infomercial). I am just about to climb up to the virtual rooftops and shout out to whoever’s listening about my new discovery. Google Voice.
Google Voice is a recently released innovation from internet giants Google (obviously), which is essentially an internet phone number. It exists in some magical space somewhere in the middle of the internet (read “I have no idea how it works”). But I also dont care how it works. All I know, is that through my data plan, I am now able to make and receive as many long distance calls as I like to Canada and the US for free. Absolutely free.
To sign up for Google Voice, I had to fill out a little form on their website (www.google.com/voice), and then wait for an invite. The invite took about a month to arrive in my inbox, but when it did, I went to work setting up my account. Along with the standard stuff like name, address, email address etc, you also get to choose your phone number. They give you the option to type a word, and then they will show you the options you have which include the word you gave them. In my case, i put in the word PANT. (pretty self explanatory if you’re reading this blog). And up came several options such as 55-PANT-6586 or 3-PANT-40596. But I wanted something with PANT on the end, so I chose to randomly generate another set of numbers, then another, then another until I finally came across one which had multiple numbers and PANT at the end. I obviously won’t post the number here, but its to the effect of
(55*) 6**-PANT.
Great. so now I had my personalized number, I was incredibly sceptical. Where is the catch. When do I have to put in a credit card number. I’m happy to say, this step never came. I clicked finish and it redirected me to my newly acquired Google Voice inbox. At this point, it is essentially the same as a Skype account. I’m not incredibly familiar with Skype, I have just started using it (mainly for video chats), but it seems that you can make and receive calls on your computer. Same as Google Voice. So whats the big deal?
I remember reading on Crackberry.com, one of my favourite blogs, that there was recently a free Google Voice Dialer app released for the blackberry. At the point when I read that post, I had no idea what they were talking about, and didnt think much of it. But it popped back into my head when I set up my GV account, and I went looking for it. Relatively easily, I found it and installed it on my blackberry. When i opened up the app, it looked very similar to a dialing screen on any phone. It finally hit me. “Can I really just dial in a number here, in this app, and it will automatically call from my Google Voice number?”. Excited, I dialed a friend of mine’s phone number up in Winnipeg, Canada…and it started ringing.
Then…he answered. “Hello?” he asked, with a confused tone in his voice…I said hello back…and he said “What is Badger California?” He was referring to the caller ID that showed up when I called. The area code that I chose from my google voice number happens to be from a city (or town) called Badger in California. I quickly explained the situation to him and told him I was just testing it out.
Success.
I asked him to call the number back. Sure enough it rang. When i answered, an automated voice said “You are receiving a call from….(my friends recorded voice saying his name). press 1 to answer the call, press 2 to leave a voicemail…and press 3 to listen in on the voicemail.” I pressed 1, and sure enough, there he was. plain and simple.
So now that I have taken an extensively long route of explaining the process, I will go into the facts. The GV app for blackberry basically allows you to forward your GV number to your mobile phone (which I chose. You can also choose to forward it to your house phone, or your work phone, or all three of your phones). So when someone dials it, your cell phone rings. If you call someone through the GV app instead of through your normal phone dialer, you call through your GV number. Amazing. Too good to be true, right? Unfortunately….right.
First of all, Google Voice is ONLY available in the US at the time of this post. You cannot sign up for it in Canada, or anywhere else for that matter. Secondly, free calls are limited to continental North America. You have to load your Google Voice account with money in order to call any other countries (much like Skype). Giving credit where credit is due, the rates are actually very good (for example 2 cents a minutes to the UK). Third, iphone users…for the time being..you are out of luck. Apple has rejected Google’s bid for a GV app in the app store (an interesting controversy if you want to read more).
I really apologize for rambling on for so long, but if you’ve made it this far, you’ve obviously found it interesting. So if you have a blackberry, and you live in the US (or visit often, like me) then get your little fingers typing on to http://www.google.com/voice and sign up for an invite. You will be glad you did.

Finding that you need to shave one side of your face less often than the other? Read on…

A non-profit research and advocacy group called Environmental Working Group has conducted tests on over ¬†a 1000 cell phones in order to record and report radiation levels emitted from the phones during use. The picture above is somewhat scary, but I’m assuming that if the radiation was a¬†significant¬†problem that we have to worry about, the FCC would not allow these products onto the market. Or, they would be ¬†more strict on which devices enter the market, therefore denying approval to those which score badly on radiation emissions. But they don’t, so I think we’re good. Just something to think about if you are an over the top excessive cell phone user.
Below is a list of the 10 ten best and worst phones for radiation emissions. You can make your way over to the group’s page for a full list. (My Blackberry Storm comes in at 12th best on the list…where is your phone?)

10 best phones
  1. Samsung Impression (SGH-a877)
  2. Motorola RAZR V8
  3. Samsung SGH-t229
  4. Samsung Rugby (SGH-a837)
  5. Samsung Propel Pro (SGH-i627)
  6. Samsung Gravity (SGH-t459)
  7. T-Mobile Sidekick
  8. LG Xenon (GR500)
  9. Motorola Karma QA1
  10. Sanyo Katana II
10 worst phones
  1. Motorola MOTO VU204
  2. T-Mobile myTouch 3G
  3. Kyocera Jax S1300
  4. Blackberry Curve 8330
  5. Motorola W385
  6. T-Mobile Shadow
  7. Motorola C290
  8. Motorola i335
  9. Motorola MOTO VE240
  10. Blackberry Bold 9000

[Crackberry]