Tuesday, December 31, 2013

"We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year's Day" - Edith Lovejoy Pierce

Happy New Year ...looking forwards :)

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

As 2013 rushes to its inevitable conclusion, I wanted to take this opportunity to wish you and yours a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and a safe and relaxing one.
 
It's been a busy year, and like you, I haven't been sitting still:
·         I've travelled (Fiji, India, South Africa and Singapore): saw amazing places and met some really interesting people (isn't that what travel is all about?)
·         Stage 2 of our home renovations was completed (on time and on budget), and the Studio has proven to be invaluable for what came next.
·         I changed career paths, and left Priority Management (on good terms), and joined SAFE Asbestos Management, as the Business Development Manager (the office will be closed from Monday 23rd December and reopening Monday 6th January).
·         Rahi was welcomed as the newest member of our family. Rahi (whose name is Indian for traveller) is a 14 week old Tri Coloured Beagle.
 
I’m looking forward to sitting down and reflecting on what I have achieved during 2013, who I have had the pleasure of meeting throughout the year, and what I personally and professionally seek for 2014.
 
Thank you for adding to my interesting year, and I hope I have done the same for you. Take this time to relax, recharge, reflect and plan for a fabulous 2014. Be safe.
 
Thomas

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

My thoughts on the BlackBerry Z30 ... a personal review

I've had enough time with the BlackBerry Z30 (what can be categorized just as a phablet) to provide my thoughts around the current BlackBerry flagship (perhaps until the Z50 surfaces during the latter part of 2014).

Size:
Yes, as you can clearly see, the BlackBerry Z30 is a wee bit bigger than the Z10 (my last go to BlackBerry device, now residing in my drawer), and while it doesn't look substantially bigger, that bit more screen real estate makes all the difference.

It still sits nicely in your hand, and although quite weighty, doesn't feel awkward or that it's about to slip out of your grasp. I do miss the textured back of the Z10, as the Z30 is less textured, but possibly feels more upmarket.

Literally, this should have been where BlackBerry started with the full touch 10 devices, size wise. It just feels right, and not too large in your pocket.

Given its size, and no physical buttons on the front, it does command the looks, and most comment how clean it seems.

Battery:
Yes it does have a removable rear, but no it is not for a removable battery. For the first time that I am aware of (at least with the devices I have owned since 2004), the Z30 does not have a removable battery. The removable rear is for the SIM Card and the micro SD card (I'm currently using a 32gb micro SD Card).

The non-removable battery has caused me a few moments of anxiety ..... since the Bold 9780, I have always carried at least one spare battery, and would go through 2 batteries during the course of a busy day ......but unlike some smart phones, I could keep moving.

I guess my problem is that I am so used to carrying spare batteries (right up to the Z10), and now I can't. But on the positive side, the battery of the Z30 is 2,880mAh (as compared to the Z10 at 1,800 mAh), so even with the increased landscape, it is much better, and lasts a lot longer.

Where as I could almost get to lunchtime on one battery with the Z10 (no topping up of charge), with the Z30 I can easily get to late afternoon. And I don't switch off wifi or bluetooth when out and about (something I used to always do to conserve power on my previous BlackBerry devices. But I do carry an external/portable battery, just in case (old habits die hard).

Operating System:
I am currently running the leaked 10.2.1.1055 (thanks to @CrackBerry and @BerryLeaks) and I must say I am mightily impressed with the depth and thoughtfulness of this OS.

A lot of features were brought back from the legacy OS's which has made the Z30 all the more welcoming. That and the better processing power of the Z30, has made my life using BlackBerry so much easier .......Back to the Future anyone?

Sure, there are a couple of glitches and bugs in this leaked OS, but it is a leak, so what would you expect.

A couple of highlights for me:
  • The quick settings (drop down menu) activated by either dragging down from the top of the screen, or simply tapping between the battery meter and the time, to quickly and efficiently adjust your BlackBerry to what you are doing (ie. adjust your alarm, turn on the flashlight (yes, flashlight), flight mode, battery strength, screen brightness, etc)
  • Dark themes .....yep, love them
  • Mark prior emails as read (ye ha!)
  • Flashlight now built in
  • Updated Android runtime ......what that means, is basically =, with the help of some savvy developers out there, you can easily run free Android apps, without the need to sideload them. My Android app market of choice is 1Mobile Market, and some of the Android apps I am running (without issues) are:
  1. Pinterest
  2. Feedly
  3. Pulse
  4. StumbleUpon
  5. Springpad
  6. Path
  7. Qantas
  8. Shazam
  9. Zoho CRM
  10. Nespresso
  11. Kaching
  12. Boomerang
  13. Facebook Pages Manager
Lack of Australian Carrier / Retailer support:
I am disappointed in the Australian Carriers / Retailers and their total lack of support in providing BlackBerry Z30 accessories, even such basic accessories such as a sleeve or case ... nothing, nada, zip. And retailers wonder why Australians spend so much money online??

To purchase my Z30, I did so from a retailer as the Telco I have my plan with, didn't have any in stock, nor appeared interested in getting any in ... seriously?

Summary:
I am very happy with the progress BlackBerry has made, and the smoothness and responsiveness of the Z30, as compared to the Z10, is very noticeable and evident. There is a lot more to the eye with the Z30 ... you just need some time to explore.

Well done BlackBerry.

My thoughts for now,

TferThomas