Wireless

Wireless Roaming in the U.S.

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20150515_AtCliftonSpringsI was south of the border last week for some R&R. Usually, while in the U.S., I would turn the data roaming off on my phone because I do not want to be charged with high roaming rates. Sometimes I would buy a data pass if I really needed to use data while on the road, if I could not easily find WiFi anywhere.

Well now, gone are those days of stressing out about whether or not to use data while roaming in the U.S. thanks to Roam Like Home with my wireless provider Rogers.  Since I have a Share Everything plan, I was able to take advantage of this feature. I would only pay $5/per day up to a maximum of 10 days  per monthly bill (that’s 21 days at no extra charge if you’re staying in the U.S. for the entire month). With this, I can basically use my wireless plan just like when I’m at home in Canada, including unlimited calling and texting to U.S. and Canada numbers.

Now, if I have to travel to Europe, I can make use of the same feature but with a different pricing. For Europe, it is $10/day up to a maximum of 11 days per monthly bill.

Using Google Maps, checking for which restaurants to eat, checking for deals/coupons, checking the weather… those were just some of the things I was able to do, thanks to being able to use my data while in the U.S.

To use Roam Like Home, text travel to 222. More information can be found on the Rogers website.

Disclaimer: I am a Rogers employee, however, the opinions on this site are my own, and do not in any way reflect my employer’s.

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suretap wallet surely works for me!

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wpid-screenshot_2015-01-12-22-46-05.pngAbout a week ago or so, I downloaded this new app called suretap wallet. So, what is it, you ask? It’s an app from Rogers that enables users to store payment cards and complete everyday point-of-sale (POS) transactions using their mobile device. This, however, can only be used on POS terminals which support contactless payments.

Currently, you can only add the Rogers Prepaid MasterCard as well as some gift cards to it. There was a recent promotion (which expired on January 6, 2015) that when you register and add the Rogers Prepaid MasterCard to the suretap wallet, you will receive $100 in free money. Yep, you read that right – one hundred dollars! If you were not able to take advantage of this promotion, let’s hope there’s another one for you soon.

The suretap wallet application is compatible with only certain smartphones. Current list includes the following:

  • Samsung GALAXY Alpha™
  • Samsung GALAXY Note 4™
  • Samsung GALAXY Note 3™
  • Samsung GALAXY Note II™
  • Samsung GALAXY S4™
  • Samsung GALAXY S III™
  • Samsung GALAXY S5™
  • HTC One™
  • HTC One (M8)
  • LG G3
  • LG G Flex
  • LG G2
  • LG Optimus G
  • BlackBerry® Z10
  • Sony Xperia® Z3
  • BlackBerry® Z3
  • Samsung Core LTE
  • BlackBerry® Z30
  • BlackBerry® Q10

wpid-20150112_224256.jpgBasically, any device with NFC (near field communications) capability should work. Also, you would need an active suretap LTE SIM card.

The first transaction that I had using the suretap wallet with the free $100 in my Rogers Prepaid MasterCard was for my purchase at a health food store. The cashier was amazed, exclaiming, “Oh, new technology!”

For more information on suretap, check out rogers.com/suretap.

New Features for BBM Include Timed Messages and Message Retraction for More Privacy and Control

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Samsung phone screen with BBMBlackBerry released new features for BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) on Friday, October 31, 2014 which include Timed Messages and Message Retraction. This allows users to have more privacy and control over their messages.

With “Timed Messages”, similar to popular photo messaging app Snapchat, you can set a timer to control how long messages and pictures you share can be viewed within BBM. The message is hidden until the recipient touches and holds on the chat. Once the timer expires or if the recipient takes their finger off the screen, the message is no longer visible. The user also receives a notification if BBM detects that the recipient has taken a screenshot of the image or message. Only thing is, if the recipient  has another phone/camera handy, of course they could still take a picture of the picture/message without you knowing it.

With “Message Retraction”, users can now retract messages from their BBM chat before it will be read by the recipient, or even after it has been read so that it will no longer be visible within BBM.

The premium features will be available to BBM users for free for the next three months, after which will be offered as part of a broader bundle of features with a BBM subscription.

Other new features include a quicker sticker picker, HD Picture Transfer, and the ability to see what music your contacts are listening to in BBM Feeds.

Check out this video showing how the new features can be useful:

BBM – Yours to Control – “The Dive”

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]