Since I typically write about some product about a month or two after I acquire it, I don’t often comment about durability or ownership over an extended period of time; that is what I’d like to do with this post. Here are a couple of products I’ve written about in the past and some quick comments about how I feel about them now.
Still my favourite computer I’ve owned. Quick boot-up, still a good battery life, great at everything I want it to do from surfing to watching media to editing video to typing out documents. Hard to imagine I ever buy another PC on the Windows platform. Very happy I splurged on the anti-glare screen.
Within the first year I owned these headphones I had to submit a warranty claim because sound stopped coming out of one ear. The wire is not as durable as advertised, a rip appeared in the rubber near the joint where the one wire diverges into two.
This is likely the last Blackberry I will buy. I’ve had phone envy since purchasing an iPhone 4s for my wife last year. While I still like the keyboard, the device’s shortcomings are most evident in:
Lack of app support
Poor quality camera (the delay makes it difficult to take pictures that aren’t blurry unless you own a blackberry yourself and are used to it)
OS seems to hang intermittently when context-switching. This is a deal-breaker for users who are heavy multi-taskers
The main reason for moving away from Blackberry once I get my next upgrade is that I have no faith in Research In Motion’s development team. Lack of leadership combined with laying off a lot of your R&D personnel generally means you will have buggy products.
Recently I explored upgrading to an iPhone 5 or the Samsung Galaxy S3 but didn’t feel either offered enough value to jump to without a full phone upgrade credit from my provider (Telus). The maps issue I find disconcerting on iOS while the Android phone just didn’t inspire me to part with my money. Anyway the longer you wait for technology the more you get. It’s rather amazing to me how the smartphone market has evolved into such a state where people treat these expensive, sophisticated devices as so disposable.
I needed a new vehicle to deliver audio from various music players to my brain after I lost my Skullcandy earbuds; decided to take it to the next level since I wasn’t fully happy with them anyway. Like most headphones, the wire eventually weakens on the connection so over time you lose hearing in one and then both ears. These were already replaced once through their great warranty but I was reluctant to go through the process again; it was a sign. Plus I had a gift card that was collecting dust so I decided to check out these Dr. Dre headphones that seem to be increasing in popularity. I would gladly rock the bigger, badder over-ear models but I was going for small, light and easy to put away.
These are definitely next-level headphones. Whether you’re listening to classical or rock or hip-hop you can hear everything on the track very crisply. The bass is nice and deep; it will move you. The microphone is quite good, I used it with Dragon Dictation to record this blog post.
The on-cord remote for controlling volume and playback is pretty solid albeit biased to Apple products; it easily controls my iPod nano, my iPad and even my MacBook. It works splendidly answering calls and controlling music play on iPhone (4). I say biased because it doesn’t control my BlackBerry Torch very well (known issue). In fact I can’t even use it as just a normal headset for talking on the phone, there seems to be some incompatibility (works with my wife’s Blackberry Curve 8900 though). Monster and Research In Motion better work this out because it’s ridiculous for this not to work. On Android (Motorola Xoom) the remote is only good for starting and stopping playback, all three buttons do the same thing.
It comes with all of these accessories that you see in the picture. There are earbud attachments of different sizes as well as this adjustable over-ear wire which is handy if you want to be active while using them. The case is very durable although bigger than I want it to be; I suppose they need to be big enough to house the entire unit.
All in all it is a solid product. My research indicates the squarish, rubber-like wire (patent pending) is more durable than regular headphone wires. They are expensive headphones, hopefully the cost is mitigated by them lasting a long time.
After my recent purchase of an iPad, I found myself now looking for files on four different devices (the others being a desktop PC, a laptop PC and a Blackberry Torch smartphone). That was until I installed two apps on all of the devices, Evernote and Dropbox. (Both are FREE!)
Evernote is good for saving just about any media. If I see a picture of something, if I want to save a weblink bookmark accessible from anywhere, if I start thinking of a new blog post or new ideas, I put it in my Evernote. It has tremendously simplified my ability to maintain multiple lists.
Dropbox is essentially a universally accessible file folder. You can copy any file you want to share (including publicly). Hook me up with a referral if you decide to sign up and they will give both of us extra space. :)
Like any kind of cloud-based technology, Evernote and Dropbox have their own limitations. Your ability to upload and synchronize is dependent on your connectivity. Though an Evernote Premium Account allows you to access your notebooks offline which is handy.
In terms of bugs, the only thing I’ve encountered with these two applications thus far are errors accessing and editing files from Evernote for Blackberry.
Got to spend time with my cousin Andrea recently who although diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, it doesn’t get her down. Every time we hang out we have laughs and she is super-positive.
For her birthday last year, her parents and sisters bought her a Blackberry Torch 9800. She uses Blackberry Messenger to stay in touch with friends and family. However, knowing that she has some difficulties with motor functions and sight, I suggested that instead of typing out a message, she try using the voice recorder, record a note and then fire it off to selected Blackberry Messenger recipients. We walked through the process that I demonstrate in the video. This could work with WhatsApp too but I haven’t tested it (iPhone may not like the file format of the Blackberry, *.amr file). The voice note file sizes are pretty reasonable. iPhone/iPad is great for this with Facetime, but you normally wouldn’t use it unless you’re on your own wi-fi.
I apologize for the blurry ending to the video, the video recorder had trouble with the font size I use so it couldn’t focus. The screen should look like this picture. I recorded the video with one phone then the other.
I think it’s pretty cool if we use technology to give people who may normally feel isolated an opportunity to remain social. Maybe it’s time to get Gramma and Grampa some crack(berry)?
I’ve been using WhatsApp for a couple of weeks now and it’s been great for communicating with my non-blackberry using friends. My California cousins are all about the iPhone and I needed some way to cheaply and efficiently communicate with them especially while I was there last week. I added the US data plan from Telus again and my usage came out like this.
Every time I received a text message my wallet cried a little. SMS is so 00′s. It’s time to install WhatsApp. The data usage wasn’t all instant messaging, (I wish I had set up a way to isolate it) it’s combined with me emailing, tweeting and Facebook-ing (uploading/downloading pictures and videos) and of course Google mapping. How did people travel without their own personal GPS??
I’ll be posting a more thorough review after some more testing (like conference chats and sending/receiving of files) but I’d like to get the word out so that I can have more people to test with.
I downloaded (for free!) PatternLock Lite for my Blackberry Torch 9800 from BlackBerry App World and I like it a lot. I no longer have to open the keyboard or type my password on the touchscreen to unlock my device. Choose a pattern to use for locking and re-enter it whenever you want to use the device.
There are two negatives.
From the forums, is that it has been found to drain your battery faster. I haven’t noticed it but I thought you should be aware of this.
The application cannot stop someone from accessing data stored on your device if they come in from USB (i.e. plug it into a computer). The app requires you to disable Blackberry’s hardware password function, which when enabled, forces you to enter the password when you connect it to a computer as well preventing data access through the device.
I looked through the specs and reviews for the full version ($2.99) of Patterlock to see if issue #2 is addressed but I couldn’t find info on it.