• Devices

    by Published on 12-06-2013 08:10 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Commentary and Analysis,
    4. Apps
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    In documenting the trials and tribulations of rooting and modding my Nexus 5 I had noted that I chose OmniROM as my custom firmware of choice. Part of this is pragmatic— Omni is one of the very few ROMs available for the Nexus 5. And part of this is political, which we'll get to in a bit.

    Had I stuck with stock firmware I could already be enjoying a better camera experience via Android 4.4.1 — instead I have to wait, so why bother with a custom ROM in the first place?

    My goal for today is to answer that question, with a closer look at OmniROM.

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    by Published on 12-05-2013 07:50 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. How-To
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    For all my bluster in a previous post about how trivial it is to make a Nexus your own, I seem to have conveniently forgotten that achieving root is sometimes not as easy as I've made it out to be.

    My seventh rooting of a Nexus device — that's five phones and two tablets in total — took place yesterday afternoon. The welcome screen you see above is what most users would see on first boot; for me it was a much more elusive prize. What should have taken twenty minutes was instead a two-hour ordeal, entirely due to my own impatience in getting my new toy up and running the way I wanted.

    The cool thing about getting yourself into trouble is that you learn stuff along the way. So I've documented what happened to me in order to share that knowledge with you.

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    by Published on 12-04-2013 08:02 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Apps
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    It wasn't supposed to end this way.

    I had one final task for my Nexus 4, and thought I had the means to accomplish it. I was supposed to be gloating today all about how I was finally able to stick it to the banks, my carrier, even Google, by making a successful purchase using Google Wallet.

    Instead, this.



    How did we get here? Read on for my sad tale of fail...

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    by Published on 12-02-2013 08:33 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Tips
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    Heh, "cyber"...

    I have to laugh because back in the late 1900s people actually referred to the Internet as "cyberspace". In fact, you could stick "cyber" in front of pretty much any word and instantly make it cooler, more terrifying or both — cyber-sex, cyber-bullying, cyber-fries, etc.

    Anyway, Cyber Monday is upon us — even in Canada, despite the fact that our Thanksgiving was back in October. It always seemed a more sensible shopping holiday than Black Friday; why risk getting trampled when you can browse deals in your pajamas from the comfort of your home, hot coffee in hand? And that's exactly what I'm doing this fine December morning.

    The following are some notable mobile-related deals that have piqued my interest. It's not in any way meant to be an exhaustive list, only a few examples to kick off a wider discussion. Feel free to add your own via a reply, whether you live in Canada or otherwise!

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    by Published on 11-29-2013 02:14 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Tips,
    4. Reviews and Hands-on
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    While a new LG G2 would be nice, not everyone wants or has the means to sign a contract on an expensive plan. They also don’t want to spend $700 on a new phone. So what can you get if you’re on a prepaid budget?

    Now, since most fancy phones are available on prepaid, I’m putting a $200 limit on the cost of the phone. $200 is still a sizable chunk of change but to be honest, if I set it lower there just aren’t enough phones that I would recommend. Let’s check out the contenders. ...
    by Published on 11-29-2013 08:11 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices
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    The idea that the market can bear a third successful smartphone OS has been bandied about a fair bit, but the source is not often cited. It was Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam who, way back in September of 2011, introduced this idea to tech bloggers who, in turn, picked up and ran with it.

    The direct quote:

    "The carriers are beginning to coalesce around the need for a third ecosystem... Over the next 12 months I think it will coalesce and you will start to see one emerge as a legitimate third ecosystem."
    At that time the race for third was between BlackBerry and Windows Phone; two years later this still looks to be the case, albeit with a few new contenders at least.

    In my short time here as a front-page blogger I've had the opportunity to spend some quality time with at least three of the third-place contenders — BlackBerry (in its latest incarnation), Firefox OS and Windows Mobile. The somewhat ambitious goal for today is to crown a winner.

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    by Published on 11-28-2013 09:05 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices
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    Before I left the bed this morning to begin writing my girlfriend pulled me close and whispered softly in my ear:

    "BlackBerry sucks."

    Thanks to a care package from Howard we are now suddenly a BlackBerry family — she's got a Q10 and me a Z30. I have to say that the word which best sums up our experience so far is "frustrating".

    The swipe up/down/left/right thing isn't really a big deal. In my first hour or so I did spend a fair amount of time pressing the BlackBerry logo below my Z30's screen, hoping for a home screen to appear. I eventually got used to swiping up instead.

    My issue is with the home screen itself.

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    by Published on 11-27-2013 08:25 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Reviews and Hands-on
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    How long should an electronic device last? You're probably thinking why does that matter but I've run into a major problem with my Mac Pro that's now 7 years old. It's a beautiful machine that has been powered up 24/7 for 95% of those years. I've maxed this computer out with 16GB of RAM, 6TB of hard drives and an SSD. I can't ever go back to using just one monitor and I've learned my lesson to back up everything. I think it's hardware failure and I have this theory that Steve Jobs' ghost has entered countdown code to doomsday… right on the eve of the new Mac Pro being released. I'm a huge Apple fan and am fully aware of the company's fallibility. I had my video review ready to post and I found my computer off the next morning unable to get past the screen with the Apple logo on it.

    Here's where I'm going with this: for the premium I pay Apple, I expect their products to outperform and outlast the competition. I do not have this same expectation for Samsung. It's not a bad thing if that's what their business model is designed for (i.e. high volume, low margin).

    One other point is more of a challenge: can you post a review (with photos and video clips) using only a tablet? I had high hopes for the Note 10.1 but it's not quite there yet. Apart from not being able to create an article on this forum, I think we're almost there. Howard? Any takers on that challenge?

    Bottom line for those with a short attention span: the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition has outstanding specs on paper but doesn't execute appropriately. In other words, it doesn't get the horsepower to the road. The Apple iPad is still the clear leader in this field. I see the potential in the Note 10.1 but it might be the 2015 Edition that pulls it all together. ...
    by Published on 11-21-2013 08:10 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices
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    To do yet another graffiti walk would be, in my opinion, a disservice to the Lumia 1020. Most modern-day camera phones can deliver acceptable results with vivid colours in bright light — as per previous examples here and here. So for the Lumia I tried something different: I took it with me on a dinner date to a new ramen joint in the neighbourhood.

    All of the images that you'll see in this post, save for the one screen grab below, are embeds from my Flickr account. That way you can click through and see them resplendent in their full 41 megapixel glory should you so choose.

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