Month: October 2014

Phones That Are Confirmed to Get the Android Lollipop Software Update

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Android Lollipop. Image Credit: Google
Android Lollipop. Image Credit: Google

Android Lollipop, the Android software version 5.0 formerly simply known as Android “L”, has been reported to have a November 3, 2014 release date. No official date has been announced yet by Google however.

The features included in the update include the following:

  • A bold, colorful, and responsive UI design for consistent, intuitive experiences across all your devices
  • New ways to control when and how you receive messages – only get interrupted when you want to be
  • A battery saver feature which extends device use by up to 90 mins
  • Use Android Smart Lock to secure your phone or tablet by pairing it with a trusted device like your wearable or even your car
  • Multiple users for phones. If you forget your phone, you still can call any of your friends (or access any of your messages, photos etc.) by simply logging into another Android phone running Lollipop.
  • Guest user for phones and tablets means you can lend your device and not your stuff
  • New handy controls like flashlight, hotspot, screen rotation and cast screen controls
  • Improved network handoffs resulting in limited interruption in connectivity. For example, continue your video chat or VoIP calls without interruption as you leave the house and switch from your home Wi-Fi back to cellular
  • Even if your screen is off, you can say “OK Google” on devices with digital signal processing support such as Nexus 6 and Nexus 9

The above are just a few of the features available on the latest upcoming update. Keep in mind that not all Android devices will get the software update at the same time. Here is a list of what phones have been confirmed (or almost confirmed) to get the update:

Google

  • Google Nexus 6 will come with Android 5.0 already installed.
  • Nexus 5
  • Nexus 4

HTC

  • HTC One M8
  • HTC One M7
  • Both phones will get the upgrade within 90 days of the software’s final release.

LG

  • LG G3 will get the update before the end of the year (not completely confirmed)
  • LG G2 will get the update in early 2015 (not completely confirmed)

Motorola

  • Moto X
  • Moto G
  • Moto G LTE
  • Moto E
  • Droid Ultra
  • Droid Maxx
  • Droid Mini

Samsung

  • Galaxy S5 will get the update by December 2014 (not completely confirmed)
  • Galaxy Note 4
  • Galaxy S4
  • Galaxy Note 3
  • Above Samsung phones not completely confirmed at this time.

References:

“Android 5.0, Lollipop”. Android.com. Retrieved October 26, 2014.

Eadicicco, Lisa (October 26, 2014). “Here Are All The Phones Confirmed To Get Google’s Massive Android Update”. Business Insider. Retrieved October 26, 2014.

Your Options for High Speed Internet Service in the Greater Toronto Area, Canada

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DSL, Cable, or Fibre Optic internet access are the different broadband high speed internet options available for anyone these days, most especially in major urban cities around the world. For this blog post, I will be writing about what options are available for consumers in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) in Ontario, Canada.

First off, let’s differentiate DSL, Cable and Fibre internet:

DSL (Digital Subscriber Line)

A Digital Subscriber Line or DSL connection, uses the existing copper wire of your phone line to deliver high speed internet access. While not as fast as cable, this type of connection is incredibly faster than dial-up and suits the needs of most home users just fine. On top of being suitably fast, this type of connection also tends to be notably less expensive than cable, which is the main reason it has became such a popular option so quickly. One critical factor that will impact your decision on DSL is the distance between your home or office residence and the provider’s central office. The further you are from the main line, the weaker the signal, and the slower the connection. With that being said, DSL is not as widely available as cable so you will need to inquire with your local phone company regarding availability. (FiberforAll.org)

Cable

Though often confused with fibre, cable utilizes the coaxial cable that connects to your television set. In contrast to DSL, the quality of a cable connection does not depend on distance so your speed is guaranteed regardless. However, unlike DSL, which runs on a dedicated line, cable connections are typically shared amongst your neighbors, making it a slightly less secure option. As far as speed goes, cable access ranges from about 3 to 10 Mbps, which is essentially 3 to 4 times faster than DSL. Keeping in mind that this speed is reflected in the price, you should expect to pay a lot more for cable service. (FiberforAll.org)

Fibre

Fibre optic offers many advantages over conventional copper cable lines. It is able to transmit data much faster over greater distances and because the cable is smaller in diameter and weighs less, it makes an ideal alternative for a wide variety of cabling solutions. Since the conductor is glass and cannot generate electricity, fiber is immune to all sorts of interference. This means that it can come in direct contact with high-voltage electrical equipment, power lines and lightning, all while still putting out a superior performance. Because fibre optic cables cost less to maintain, the price for service tends to be much less than cable and very competitive with DSL. The major downside to fibre is that service is only available in a few markets, so there is no guarantee that you will be able to find it. (FiberforAll.org)

Now that we’ve differentiated the three high speed internet options, let me list the various Internet Services Providers (ISPs) available in the GTA for residential customers:

WeLoveInternet - Photo Credit: Kristina AlexandersonMost of the ISPs on the above list are Third-Party Internet Access (TPIA) providers, meaning they are wholesale high-speed access (WHSA) resellers of the large major carriers such as Rogers, Bell, Cogeco, Shaw, who offer their own retail internet services to their own end-users. Several of these TPIA providers tend to offer cheaper rates than those of the major providers.

The above list only includes those that offer internet services to residential customers, but most of these ISPs also offer internet services to businesses. Take note that there are other available ISPs in the GTA, however they only cater to businesses, not residential.

Whether DSL, Cable, or Fibre, GTA residents have a lot of options to choose from for their internet service. The differentiating factors in making the decision to go with a certain ISP are pricing, speed, and customer support. Most of the internet speeds offered by the various ISPs are similar. However, advertised speeds are not always the same as actual speeds. I will be writing more on that in a future blog post, so stay tuned!

Who is your internet service provider and are you satisfied with them? Let me know in the comments below.

Photo Credit: Kristina Alexanderson

Bloomberg Game Changers

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Bloomberg Game ChangersOne weekend a couple of months ago or so, my S.O. and I were looking for something to watch on Netflix and he found this documentary series called Bloomberg Game Changers. The series produced by Bloomberg TV features different business leaders and successful entrepreneurs who “climbed to the top and changed our world” in one way or another. There were a few there that really piqued my interest, namely:

The list above is hyperlinked to the series videos found on the Bloomberg TV website which I highly recommend to watch. The last one on my list above was actually not available at that time on Netflix and I had just watched it while writing this blog post.

It’s pretty cool learning about these people’s lives as told by their peers and colleagues leading up to the success in whatever they had created. Without these people, the world would definitely be significantly different than what it is today. All of them have contributed to making the world and its people more connected in some way. I think that’s something to be thankful for. (Happy Thanksgiving, Canada!)

Nuit Blanche 2014 #snbTO

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snbtoOctober 4 from 6:53 pm to sunrise of October 5, 2014 was Nuit Blanche, an annual free all-night contemporary art event. This is the 9th year that this event, which is translated as “Sleepless Night”, has been celebrated in Toronto.

Here’s a little backgrounder from the Nuit Blanche Toronto website:

Nuit Blanche was originally conceived in Paris, France in 2002, in an attempt to bring contemporary art to the masses in public spaces… At its core, Nuit Blanche is a 12-hour event with a mandate to make contemporary art accessible to large audiences, while inspiring dialogue and engaging the public to examine its significance and impact on public space.

Nuit Blanche in 2008 and 2011 was much better, I think, compared to this year’s event. There were more exhibits, projects, street performers in those years that I remember. I still enjoyed the few exhibits that I saw this year though. The coolest project from this year’s event, in my opinion, was the Gap Ecology (Still Lives with Cherry Pickers and Palms) exhibit by David Brooks (New York, USA) at the Queen St. and John St. intersection, which showcased seven “cherry pickers” (crane-like aerial lift equipment) that were filled with palm trees/plants which made it like an “urban jungle” in the city.

One other interesting thing from the event was the Monument to North American Energy Security by the CanAmerican Energy Arts Team (Calgary, Canada) which featured two large oil barrels connected by a pipeline to represent Canadian-American energy independence. The sculpture they had looked like it was oil (or chocolate syrup) coming out of the fountain and floating above the water at the Nathan Phillips Square pool.

I didn’t get to view all the exhibits, so I may have missed some other good ones.

Let me share below just a few pictures I took from the event:

If you want to see more Nuit Blanche pictures from other people, search for the hashtag #snbTO or #NuitBlanche on Twitter or Instagram.

Also, there are ten extended projects that will still be around until October 13th for “Après Nuit”. Check out the list at http://www.snbto.ca/2014-event/extension.html.

The “earth” without “art” is just “eh”.

BlackBerry Passport for Professionals On-the-Go

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BlackBerry PassportLast Wednesday, October 1, 2014, I was able to get my hands on a BlackBerry Passport for a quick try at a demo booth at my workplace. Surprisingly, I liked the feel of the device in my hands even with its unusual dimensions of 5.04 x 3.56 x 0.36 inches and square touch display, which is wider than what other smartphones and phablets are today.

The keyboard size felt right and was easy to type on. Keyboard is a tad bit different from the original BlackBerry keyboards in their previous older phones, with the numeric, Alt, and Shift keys now found on-screen instead. The spacebar is also smaller now since it is squeezed in between the bottom row of letters. To get to the home screen, you would need to swipe up from the middle of the keyboard to the middle of the screen. This would take a little bit of getting used to. Once in the home screen, you can access the apps by swiping left on the screen.

I liked how websites looked on the web browser, definitely a huge improvement comparing to how it was on the older BlackBerry Curve or Bold for example. It displays the full desktop version of sites well. I can’t give a comparison to the browser on the Z10 or Q30 however as I haven’t personally tried them out myself on these. One nice thing to point out with using the browser on the Passport is that when you rotate the phone on its side, you can use the keyboard as a scroll bar, so that means you won’t have to cover any part of the screen with your finger while scrolling.

BlackBerry Passport - TechLifeInPink.comThe BlackBerry Passport includes an app called the BlackBerry Hub, which is where your email, SMS/MMS, BBM messages, calls/voicemails, calendar events, social media messages and notifications such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, can be consolidated in one view for easy access and response. I liked it that it gives you that convenience, except I personally wouldn’t want my personal social media accounts included in the mix.

Another built-in app is called the BlackBerry Blend, which allows you to access the contents of your device (emails, text messages, BBM messages, calendar, files) from a computer or tablet with internet access. I didn’t get to try it out though so I can’t say if the interface is good or not.

I like how documents, spreadsheets, and presentations display well on the device, so I think this, as well as the email app (BB Hub), will definitely be beneficial for professionals on the go. As accessing some sites on the internal corporate network is required for some professionals, how well the VPN works on the phone is also important. I’m not sure how it is on this phone and I’ve never used it on my old BlackBerrys before either, but it would be great if it works well. I think I’ve tried using VPN on the BlackBerry PlayBook before and I think it worked okay.

I think I’d love having this as a work phone, which is exactly what BlackBerry had in mind when creating this phone — made for corporate users.

I would still like to keep a separate personal phone though. How about you, do you see yourself using this phone?

Official BlackBerry Passport Unboxing Video

Related Article: Keep your Passport on you at all times! [Rogers RedBoard]