Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Beware of Google Chatbots

You are checking your email on Google when suddenly a chat request from some unknown email address appears in your Google Chat listing. Curious, you accept the invitation, wondering if it is perhaps someone you know. The user's profile pic shows a somewhat provocative female, but unrevealing, and has no face to allow easy identification. The chat starts off with "What's Up" or "How Ya Doing". You reply "Do I know you?" and she quickly replies about how "lonely" she is and is looking to have some "fun". You decline with a "Sorry I'm not interested" and get bombarded with more replies and requests, increasingly of a sexually explicit nature, and inviting you to visit a webcam for more interaction.

As you ask her about how she got your email and repeatedly explain that you are not interested, you are met with more and more of what seem to be "canned" answers. You start to suspect something odd about the interaction. It soon becomes apparent that the other person is not interacting or understanding you at all. You, my friend, are another victim of a "Chatbot", a clever artificial-intelligence program designed to simulate human chat and which is spamming unsuspected Gmail user accounts.

In our increasingly interconnected social-network-based world, sites such as Google (which integrate chat functionality and other features into email) can be targeted by clever "bots" or computer programs which spam other random Gmail users to start chats. The chats appear to be designed to entice users to cam sites which then ask for money. Fortunately, it is easy to block and disable each individual bots. Once you realize what is happening, it is easy to recognize the signature profile information before even opening the chat (which typically has no personal detail, and shows a faceless but provocative female figure). However, there is currently no way to block all external chat requests (as far as I know) so if you get asked to add an unknown email address to your chat listing, simply ignore it.

On the other hand, you can also have some fun with these chatbots. Next time you get a chat request on Gmail from an unknown person, enter into a conversation and see how long it takes you to realize that you are speaking to a computer. Try to outwit the computer or discuss something that you believe only another human should know. Be polite, don't offend (just in case it is a real person - which is unlikely), but do get a first-hand experience of how sophisticated these newer chatbot algorithms can be. And maybe if you are really lonely, you may actually enjoy the interaction. But don't blame me if you end up getting spammed more and more!

Monday, 9 December 2013

Easy iPhone 5 File & Music Transfer

I'm a long-time BlackBerry and Windows PC user and wanted to simulate the experience of managing all kinds of files easily on my newly received iPhone 5c, without the need for using iTunes at all and without any physical connection to my computer. I found an easy way to do what I needed without any Jailbreak, just trying out various apps.... I narrowed it down to 2 free apps that handle what I need (MyMedia and Remote Files Free). I wanted to share it with others who need some of this extra functionality in an easy way. See the video above, and read on below to see how it works!


I want to be able to copy music, documents, photos, PDF files and everything else I can imagine from my Windows PC to the iPhone, and back. The Remote Files Free app connects to a Windows Network share drive. As long as both devices are on the same WiFi connection, you can link... The addresses are all local 192.168.x.x format. The iPhone sees your PC folder and you can move files around. When you copy them to your iPhone, they end up in the "local" app's file store. If you have music, you can upload entire folders and organize tracks. When you play a song, it will play the entire folder if you want so the folder structure becomes your playlist. If you want to copy stuff from your iPhone to the PC, you can do the same thing to transfer files the other way.

The other feature I needed was the ability to download and save practically any file format on the web to the iPhone, either to review later, share or email, or transfer to my computer. I found a free app called MyMedia which has a browser modification allowing download. In the video I used an MP3 download site as an example, but you can do the same with PDF files, documents, photos, videos, or anything you want. When it downloads the file, it saves it to the MyMedia app's file store. 

So here is the kicker... In MyMedia you can "Open in Other Apps", and you pick "Remote Files Free" (RFF)... when that happens, the file gets copied to the root file store of RFF as well. I usually delete it from the MyMedia app, and use the RFF app to organize my files, and also copy if needed to my Windows PC. This is good because I can also email or share the files. I was used to being able to do all this on my BlackBerry effortlessly and one of the things that frustrated me on iPhone was the lack of a central file-store with all of these options. Hopefully people will find this combination of free apps useful for this.... I am sure there are paid apps which do everything (both functions) and jailbreaking options which do even more. However, for someone who just wants an easy way to add this basic feature, this seemed a good way.

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Instagram v4.1.2 with Video running on BlackBerry 10.2

Instagram runs fairly well as an Android port, and thanks to many resourceful people in the hacking community, it is possibly to fairly easily bring this app to your device. However, I do not wish to promote piracy. Instagram has reasons for not releasing the app for BlackBerry, and nobody seems to know why. However, for testing purposes only you can do the same thing as you see in the video above. The usual disclaimer applies - not responsible for bricking your device. Having said that, many people have done this without problems.

Get the Unlocked Android Runtime from this thread here:

Berryleaks Presents Unlocked Android Runtime

Get Instagram here:

Instagram Android BAR

Get the Sideloading tool here:

Sideloading Tool

Learn how to do it by reading the guide here:

Sideloading Guide

Saturday, 2 November 2013

Amazon Gift Cards... Argh!

I recently received a $25 gift card for Amazon. I managed to spend it already, but I think it is important to share my experience for those of you who may be thinking of buying gift cards this holiday season, especially for friends and relatives in other countries.

I don't want to complain too much, considering I got the $25 gift card rather easily (for filling out a survey online). And also, thank you to the company who conducted the survey for the nice gift (they were seeking information from app developers on their experience with certain platforms and SDK's).

So what's the scoop?

Well I found out rather surprisingly that Amazon gift cards can only be used on the originating site to which they were purchased. This completely screws anyone who lives in a different country. I live in Canada (which has, but my gift card was bought from (USA).

For example, in my case the gift card was purchased by the company on (USA). When I tried to type in the code on (Canada), it would not accept it. Ok, so I logged into using my Canadian ( account username and password and was able to add the funds to my account. Great. However, it was NOT added to my account. It was added to Yet I was able to log in to both accounts using the same username and password. Huh?

Independent Entities? B.S.!

I contacted Amazon support to try and understand. Apparently, each Amazon is a different entity. I was under the assumption that $25 US would just be CONVERTED to whatever currency you are paying with, and could use ANY Amazon site around the world.... US, Canada, UK, and others... what is the difference? Why can the gift card not just be redeemed at the current exchange rate on any of the Amazon sites around the world?

The reason this becomes an issue is mostly with people who have relatives and friends around the world and want to gift them some Amazon goodness. You may be giving them a gift card which is prohibitively expensive to actually redeem. I will give you an example from my case.

I searched for items on and found books for approximately the same price as the counterpart. Great. So what is the big deal? Well remember, Amazon also has independent sellers from which you can buy new or used items. They set approximate shipping costs based on location. It turns out that standard shipping costs are calculated very differently once they go across the border. Canadian shipping from a Canadian seller is much less expensive than buying the item from a US seller.

When you are on, anything that is intended to cross the border over to Canada is going to fall under "international shipping" rates, rather than "domestic".... and will show US sellers for the most part. To get Canadian sellers who consider shipping to Canada as "domestic" shipping and save yourself a bundle, you will need to search on But you then can't use your gift card because it is only showing up on the site! Argh!

Here is an example:


Search for "Raspberry Pi User Guide" on to find sellers who are giving new copies of the book for about $11. It will then cost about $3.99 to ship domestically within the US (4-14 days). If you are in Canada, you will be forced to pay "International Standard" rates with the shipping fee that more than quadruples to $16.95 and can take 3-6 weeks ("International Expedited" 3-7 days is $44.95)!


Search for "Raspberry Pi User Guide" on to find it for about $10 new from some sellers. The shipping of $6.49 domestically within Canada (4-14 days) is much less than the international shipping rates.

So the choices are...if I buy the book from Amazon.COM but have it sent to me in Canada, it costs me around $11+17 = $28 (and wait 3-6 weeks) versus Amazon.CA where it costs me $10+6.50 = $16.50 (1-2 weeks). Alternatively, buying from Amazon.COM and sending to USA would be $11+4=$15. The choices are $28 (US to Canada and use Gift Card), $16.50 (Canada to Canada but can't use the Gift Card) or $15 (US to US and use Gift Card).


So what did I do?

At the end of the day, the last choice made the most sense. Pay $15, get to use my gift card, and have it shipped to family in the USA who will be coming soon to visit me anyways and bring me the book. If that was not an option, I would have just paid $16.50 and saved the gift card for another occasion. But there is no way I would pay almost double....$28... simply to cash out my gift card. 

I told this to Amazon but I doubt they care or would listen. However, be warned... DO NOT PURCHASE Gift Cards, especially if you are gifting to people in other countries! Amazon Gift Cards do not currently transfer or convert to other countries/currencies.

Saturday, 21 September 2013

Hydrim L110W CF14 Flow Switch Error

I have a Hydrim instrument washer (Hydrim L110W from SciCan) which has been experiencing a CF14 flow switch error. For those of you unfamiliar with this equipment, it is a professional washer that uses a special liquid soap and heated water to cleanse operatory equipment. It is essentially a "super dishwasher".

The washer pumps special liquid detergent at certain times of the wash cycle into the machine. There are some sensors that check whether or not this process is successful, just in case you run out of soap or if there is a fault in the pump (which is a peristaltic type). The main sensor involved with the "CF14 flow switch error" is a flow switch made by Gentech, model FCS-X008A. Some examples can be found on this Gentech Sensors page.

The most disappointing part of all this is the machine is relatively new, only 4 years old. For the cost of this machine, I would have expected at least a 5 year warranty, but it only comes with a 1 year. This is a disgrace for the industry, in my opinion. In any case, SciCan itself will not directly sell end-users parts and everything in Canada must be done through a few oligopolistic dental supply companies. Fortunately, suppliers in the USA or other countries will be happy to provide servicing information and parts. A great deal of information can be found in this Service Manual as well as on this SciCan Parts Document (pages 98-112).

To complicate matters, a flow switch error may also indicate the actual flow is weak due to the pump or tubing. Use of a peristaltic pump means wear and tear on the tubing inside the pump, which may need to be replaced periodically. The above Parts Document PDF shows a preventative maintenance kit which comes with most of the parts that need periodic replacement. However, sometimes the flow switch is simply "stuck" and when the microprocessor is listening to the sensor during the dose pumping period, it may get a faulty reading. The way the sensor works is when there is no flow, it reads infinite resistance (open switch). When fluid flows, it slides a small plastic segment containing a magnet to another position, resulting in the switch closing (resistance becomes close to zero).

So why does a 4 year old flow switch stick already? Turns out there is a small rubber stopper covering over the end of the magnet inside the plastic segment. The flow switch is mounted vertically, with fluid flowing up against gravity. When there is no flow, the inner plastic segment with magnet and rubber stopper is resting in the down position (gravity pulls it down over an opening). The rubber gets "sticky" as it deteriorates, perhaps accelerated due to the detergent. It causes the switch to stick in the down position. Normally when the pump starts, the flow should raise the plastic segment with the magnet up against gravity, "closing" the switch (resistance becomes zero) which notifies the microprocessor that flow is indeed occurring. If this does not happen, a CF14 error occurs.

I think this is a design flaw, especially for this application. The use of a rubber stopper over the magnet to "seal" against back-flow in the flow switch is not needed. The peristaltic pump itself should provide enough resistance to resist back-flow. At least a better, more-resistant material should have been used to cover the magnet that would not deteriorate and crumble over time. I also believe this flow switch is not designed to be used with detergent, only clean water. I will find out shortly as I have contacted Gentech to see if this is the appropriate sensor for this application. In my experience with other equipment, both electronic and mechanical, it is often these "little things" which are over-looked that cause most failures.

For example, take a look at this Brother Printer Unable 32 error, which happened to my Brother 4040CDN printer. The linked document shows how a bit of foam material over a shutter used to cover a sensor can cause it to stick after a few years, messing up a sensor that is used to read toner density and distribution. That piece of foam sticking, which costs a fraction of a cent, will completely shut down your printer. Unless you "dive in" to try to fix it yourself (assuming you find the problem and solution), you would probably spend tons of money trying to fix it. Searching Brother's website for this error provides nothing useful. In fact, the above document is the ONLY one I ever found that actually gets to the heart of the problem and which fixes it, and it was NOT created by Brother (who would prefer to have you throw out your printer and buy a new one). Unfortunately it requires dismantling most of the back end of your printer, just to put a bit of tape over the foam so it is not as sticky. But this is a perfect example of how a silly "less than a penny" material can completely bring an expensive piece of equipment to it's knees (like the tiny rubber stopper on the Hydrim flow switch).

Friday, 30 August 2013

Hitachi V-1565 Goodness

After watching EEVBlog's Dave Jones "Drive Time Rant" regarding buying a real analog oscilloscope, and then his follow-up video on how easy it is to find a good one on eBay for about $50, I took up his words of advice and landed myself a Hitachi V-1565 100Mhz scope and a JDR 2000 20Mhz scope. Both were a bargain, but the Hitachi really made my heart sing. I've started playing with it and have posted a few videos below showing some basic functions that I'm figuring out as I learn how to use it. Enjoy!

Hitachi V-1565 Cursor Usage with Gabotronics AWG
Using A/B Timebase options on Hitachi V-1565

Oscilloscope Fun

I managed to pick up some electrical analog "goodness" recently in my quest to learn electronics as a hobby. Inspired by David L. Jones (of EEVBlog) and his video on how to acquire a scope on eBay, I followed his advice and bought not 1 but 2 (dare I say it) analog oscilloscopes or "CRO" as you would call it (Cathode Ray Oscilloscopes) for a measly $135! Now that is a lot of fun on the cheap for an electronics nerd.
The Hitachi V-1565 pictured first is a 2-channel 100 MHz beastie with on-screen cursor display for voltage and timebase readings, two-mode horizontal display per channel and a frequency counter. Total price with shipping (it was a "Buy It Now" item with free shipping) was a whopping $85! This scope normally goes for way more, however it was priced low because it looked beat up and was missing a handle. However, functionally it works perfectly fine. I will post my videos shortly.
The second oscilloscope was an "accidental" buy. It is a no-name JDR Model 2000 (Hung Chang rebrand) 2-channel 20Mhz CRO with a built-in component tester. It turns out I bid $20 for it (jokingly) figuring I would be outbid. The shipping cost on it was $30. Well the auction ended and I was the highest bidder! Total cost with shipping, $50! This scope was also listed as fully working, came with original box, practically mint condition. I have the manual and even the purchase invoice from 1987 when it was originally bought!
So this second scope is a Korean OEM make which was sold to many electronics and hobby store suppliers which just rebranded it with their name. No less than a dozen variations are known, and there are likely more:
Tenma 72-720
Elenco MO-1251
Hung Chang OS-620
Neotronics OS-620
JDR Model 2000
A-1 Electronics
AW Sperry 620C
Tenma 72-320
Dick Smith Q-1240
Aron BS-601
Degem System 112
Ramsey Model 2200
KB Electronics Model 33330


Thursday, 25 July 2013

Memory Calculator (Native Cascades)

I have finally released my first app coded entirely in Native Cascades SDK for Blackberry 10. It is called Memory Calculator and it is available for free on BB10 devices everywhere!

Having come from having experience with Webworks and Marmalade SDK, I found the Cascades SDK experience to also be a bit of a learning curve.... but once you understand it and get the hang for things, it is a nice environment to develop in! You can make smooth and highly-sophisticated apps in a record amount of time.

Memory calculator allows you to convert easily between megabytes, gigabytes and terabytes in both the decimal and binary definitions to determine exactly how much storage capacity you really have.

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Misleading Hard Drive Advertising

Somewhere along the way, definitions of hard drive sizes have changed. I'm not sure when and how, but I was brought up to believe that storage capacities were measured in bytes, KB, MB, GB, TB and that these sizes were factors of 2 apart (more specifically, usually 1024x the previous which is 2 ^ 10 or 2 raised to the 10th power).

In short, a byte was 8 bits. A kilobyte (KB) was 1024 bytes, a megabyte (MB) was 1024 KB, a gigabyte (GB) was 1024 MB, and a terabyte (TB) was 1024 GB. Well, apparently this is no longer correct. This is why when I purchase a 750 GB hard drive, it shows up in Windows as having 699 GB! Where did all my storage go!

The answer lies here: Bit and byte prefixes

At some point when I must have been sleeping, the computer industry invented a number of different prefixes which totally confuse what is meant by KB, MB, GB and TB. Apparently, GB refers to GIGAbyte whereas the old definition that I was taught (powers of 2) is now referred to as a GIBIbyte. How odd? Is this because the hard drive manufacturers want to trick people into thinking they are buying a larger drive than they really are? Is every hard drive manufacturer referring to GB as GIGAbyte, or do some use GB to be short for GIBIbyte? Which is it?

So for now:

1000 bytes = 1 kilobyte, and 1024 bytes = 1 kibibyte.
1000 kilobytes = 1 megabyte, and 1024 kibibytes =  1 mebibyte
1000 megabytes = 1 gigabyte, and 1024 mebibytes =  1 gibibyte
1000 gigabytes = 1 terabyte, and 1024 gibibytes =  1 tebibyte

So by the time you get up to 750 GB, depending on what you are defining as "GB" (gigabyte or gibibyte) you end up with the following numbers of bytes:

750 x 1000 x 1000 x 1000 = 750000000000 bytes (750 gigabytes)
750 x 1204 x 1024 x 1024 = 805306368000 bytes (750 gibibytes)

Windows obviously handles things the traditional way, which is why it is reporting my 750 GB as only 699 GB. If you take 750,000,000,000 divided by 1024x1024x1024 you end up with 698.5 GB, which is what Windows is reporting, essentially. So what happened?

Windows is obviously using the traditional definition with factors of 2 to some power (1024 x) whereas hard drive manufacturers must be trying to mislead the public by over-inflating their hard drive sizes by using a power of 10 (1000 x). How do you know which company is using which definition, when the box only states GB or TB and doesn't state whether that is the new or old definition?

Thursday, 4 July 2013

Jailbreaking Apple TV 3 (Well Sort Of) with Plex

I managed to inherit a couple of Apple TV's but was disappointed when I found out they were 3rd Generation which meant no jailbreak was found for them. At least until now.... well.... sort of.

So what does jailbreaking do for an Apple TV anyways? Those of us who have Roku, Boxee or WDTV media players know that we can access internet videos and apps easily, media servers and computer storage on our network, and also plug a USB key directly in the device (loaded with movies in various video formats) and play them directly on the screen.

Unfortunately, Apple TV comes with many restrictions on these features. For example, the feature I need the most is the ability to plug in a USB flash drive with movies. There is no way to attach external storage to the Apple TV. You can play movies loaded into iTunes using the "Home Sharing" feature but that seems to be flakey on my setup, and it will only support certain media format types.

Thanks to Plex and some clever "hacking" on the back-end using PlexConnect, we can now access our non-iTunes media library through any Apple TV (including Apple TV 3). The way it works is it redirects the Trailers section of Apple TV to your Plex Media Server instead, so you can access your media through there. In order to perform this hack though, you need to download a few things. Read this Installation Guide for full instructions.

In summary:

Setting up computer:

1. Download Plex Media Server (PMS) for your computer and install it.
 - Set up your libraries in PMS by setting up the folders with your movies

2. Download Python 2.7.5 and install it (needed to run the PlexConnect scripts)
 - Must download 2.7x (need the older version), not 3.0

3. Download PlexConnect for Apple TV OS pre-5.1 and for OS 5.1+
 - You can also access the iBaa PlexConnect GitHub page directly for latest builds

4. Unzip PlexConnect and double-click "" to launch.
 - This pretends to be the Trailer server for your Apple TV but instead will inject your media
 - Note the IP address that is listed when it runs in the command window
 - It should say (on about the 6th line) "IP_Self:" or similar
 - Alternatively, in Windows use "ipconfig /all" and look for IPv4 address for your network adapter

Setting up Apple TV:

5. Go to General > Network Settings page and either Wi-Fi or Ethernet settings

6. Choose to Configure DNS Manual and change it to your computer's IP address
  - This is your computer running the PMS and PlexConnect
  - See step #4 above to find out your computer's IP address
  - Usually IP is similar to 192.168.0.x (where "x" is a number from 1-255)

7. Apple TV will now try to access the internet through your computer's DNS
  - PlexConnect handles the DNS now and intercepts the Trailer section
  - Instead of Trailers it substitutes your Plex library, tricking the Apple TV

So for now we can at least hack the Apple TV into playing from another media source besides iTunes Home Sharing and the built-in apps (like YouTube and so on). I look forward to seeing what else can be done with the Apple TV 3. Otherwise, I'm off to purchase a WD TV Play which will give me the flexibility and freedom to play anything I want off a simple plug-in USB flash drive!

DVD Decrypter and HandBrake 0.9.8

My experiments with "space-shifting" my DVD content for viewing on my portable devices has led to a generally easy combination of software to use that is freely available, light-weight and powerful enough for most tasks. Since the legality of DVD ripping for personal use (much like ripping your music CD's to listen to on your MP3 player) varies from country to country, check with your local jurisdiction. In fact, in some countries it is even considered illegal to download or own software that bypasses CSS!

The steps involved in converting your DVD's to MP4 are relatively simple. Once "unleashed" from the DVD player, you have the freedom to view your movies on a tablet, phone, or your TV-media player (WD TV, Roku, Boxee) and so on. The first step is to copy the movie to your hard drive using DVD Decrypter, in a way that is decrypted and can be encoded properly. HandBrake doesn't seem to handle this on it's own, perhaps for legal reasons it was not allowed to include decrypting code. However, it can deal fine with unencrypted DVD's (which are almost non-existent anyways). When I tried to have HandBrake read directly from the source DVD in the drive, it would always complain or even if it did read properly, the movie would come out with tons of strange artifacts and jitters which made it unusable.

So with your VOB files ripped successfully to your hard drive using DVD Decrypter, you can set your source in HandBrake to the directory containing your VOB files. It will successfully find your files and let you encode it. I generally use the Regular Normal setting which is good enough and leads to a file size about anywhere from 650 MB (1 hour 17 minutes) to about 1.5 GB (1 hour 50 minutes), depending on the length of the movie and complexity.

Regarding software versions, you basically have no choice but to use DVD Decrypter because it is the last version available and is still very old. The developer was forced to stop developing this software due to legal action, but newer versions were merged into ImgBurn but which lacks the decryption functionality, essentially making it useless for transcoding (it is only good for copying your DVD to another DVD to play on a DVD player). However, you can use special drivers with ImgBurn to decrypt on-the-fly if needed.

HandBrake is up to version 0.9.9 but I had problems with it on my Windows 7 32-bit system. Therefore, I found that 0.9.8 (available from SourceForge) is more stable and works better. So for now my power punch combination is DVD Decrypter to copy the VOB's over to the hard drive, and then HandBrake to convert over to MP4.

DVD Ripping Home Library

Well there comes a time when we amass a large collection of DVD's and would like to enjoy them on other devices. Today, many titles (Blu-Ray) come with the option to download a digital version. For example, the UltraViolet service is a frequent add-on to many titles.

However, unless you buy a new Blu-Ray with this option, how do you manage to enjoy your bought DVD collection on your phone or tablet? And what is the legality of converting your own DVD's to view on your own devices, without sharing it? The legal term is know as "space-shifting" as as long as you are the only one viewing it, once at a time, it appears to be legal.

There are lots of copy protection schemes built into DVD's these days. One good option is to use DVDFab at simply to copy the main title onto your hard drive (VOB files). Then you can usually use HandBrake to convert the file down to any format you like ( Usually just using "Normal" should do the trick and convert into an mp4 file of good quality. It seems using HandBrake directly for the copying leads to bad corrupt movies that are simply unviewable. However, copying the VOB's to your hard drive with DVDFab (or other copy software) strips some of the copy protection schemes to allow you to properly convert in HandBrake. Of course, you can also do the conversion directly in DVDFab but if you are looking for a free option this combination may do the trick.

Just one last note... It takes a long time to copy, then to convert... We are talking hours (at least on my setup). So it may not be worth it. As well, DVDFab only has a 30 day trial, but at least you can see how it works before buying it (it has many other features). There may be other VOB copying software that strips copy protection in the open-source/free community. Finally, not all DVD's work. I found many Disney titles almost impossible to copy, and others gave corrupt reading errors (yet they play fine on a DVD player). Have fun and stay legal!

Saturday, 30 March 2013

Dev Alpha C is Here!

My Dev Alpha C has arrived and it is a beast! The keyboard is fantastic, the battery life superb! I've linked a video below showing an unboxing. Hard-core Blackberry users are going to instantly take to this phone due to the familiar physical keyboard typing experience and the awesome battery performance. More casual users, those who don't mind the touch-based keyboard or media/gaming/entertainment-heavy users are going to stick to the equally awesome Z10 with it's huge HD format screen!

Looking forward to porting my Blackberry 10 apps to the Q10 device!

Monday, 18 March 2013

Red Developer Edition Blackberry Z10

Reluctantly I had to return my Dev Alpha A in January for the trade-up program, but I knew as I awaited eagerly that I would eventually receive this beautiful shiny new red Z10 phone! Well it has finally arrived and I must tell you, it is an amazing piece of technology. The Blackberry 10 OS just flies and there are so many features, so many functions, it is a production and entertainment power-house that fits in your pocket!

I was able to successfully transfer over the entire contents of my old Torch to the Z10 after using the latest Blackberry Desktop Manager and Blackberry Link. The experience was relatively smooth and I am amazed how the Blackberry Hub just magically seems to collect information from multiple sources and make it easy to organize and follow. Anyone familiar with the Playbook knows how simple it is to drag content over to the device to play videos and music, but if you want to Sync everything to match up with the content on your hard drive you can use Blackberry Link. Speaking of "link", you can also link related or duplicate contact entries in the Hub to quickly combine them! Awesome!

Here is an unboxing video of this amazing new phone!

Unboxing Red Developer Edition Blackberry Z10

Crystal Blackberry

I received a nice surprise from Blackberry recently. As a thank you to developers who made specific deadlines in the fall to submit applications for the upcoming Z10 Blackberry 10 platform, Blackberry has shipped us the "Crystal Blackberry Award".

This beautiful life-sized crystal version of a Z10 sits in a heavy marble base and is inscribed with the words "Thank you for your Blackberry 10 App. We look forward to a shared success!" - The Blackberry Developer Team.

See the unboxing video linked here for more on this heart-warming gift from Blackberry.

Rare Crystal Blackberry Unboxing

Saturday, 12 January 2013

Blackberry 10 Is Almost Here

It has been a busy past few months with Blackberry 10! I have had a lot of fun hacking away on my Dev Alpha A device and have recently sent it back to RIM for the Blackberry 10 LE phone Trade-Up promo. I hope to be able to do an unboxing and report here next month on my new BB10 LE phone!

Meanwhile, I have released 4 apps for the BB10 platform and managed to score some Blackberry Port-a-Thon cash for my Marmalade app. My "Marmalade" app (Quantum Colliders) is available on both BB10 and Playbook and I am planning to improve it with time... add more levels, sound, save features and more. I have also 3 other apps on the BB10 platform, including my Text Clock app (also available on Playbook), Vibrating Massager, and Project Gutenberg Aesop's Fables.

Here are some of my other apps for Blackberry on the Playbook only and pre-BB10 phones:

Smoking Calculator (Playbook)
Talking Alarm Text Clock Pro (Playbook)
Talking Alarm Text Clock Demo (Playbook)
Doctor Braun App (Playbook and pre-BB10 phones)
Raspberry Pi App (Playbook and pre-BB10 phones)