Wednesday, February 10, 2016

What i love about BlackBerry Priv, Review Part 1

Recently a colleague asked my advice on a smartphone he wanted to buy. But he had a specific request: the phone should have a full keyboard like his Blackberry 8520 which was well past its prime. That was exactly a week before BlackBerry announced the launch of Priv in India. I would not have suggested this premium phone to my colleague anyway, but his specific requirement might just be what makes the BlackBerry Priv and the next generation of devices that follow it the redeemer for the beleaguered Canadian smartphone maker.
I have used this new phone for a week and will tell you why I love this new phone from Waterloo. I will also tell you what I don’t love about the Priv in the next part of this review.

Priv runs near stock version of Android 5.1 Lollipop and is one of the most secure smartphones available right now.
Before you start comparing it to QWERTY old Blackberry, let me tell you that this is not a phone for everyone. It is clearly meant for top management, which has for many years been BlackBerry’s favourite clientele. It is priced to take on the top-end flagships like the iPhone and the Samsung Galaxy S6 edge+. The price means even BlackBerry does not expect it to be a mass product.
Specs: 5.4-inch WQHD AMOLED display (2560 x 1440 pixels) | Snapdragon 808 processor | 3GB RAM | 32GB storage space (expandable to 200GB) | 18MP rear camera with OIS + 2MP front camera | 3410 mAh battery | Android 5.1 Lollipop
Price: Rs 62,999

It’s different: All the buzz so far about this phone has centred around how this is the first Android phone from BlackBerry which has been pushing its own operating system for many years. I choose to look at this phone differently. For me, this is the best Android phone with a keyboard at the moment and that is a pretty place to be in for BlackBerry, a very lonely place too. I am very adept at typing really fast for long durations on the smartphone and tablet. But I’m still in a minority. There are lots of people who do it because they don’t have an option and the handful of Android devices with keyboards are low-end devices not really meant for power users. With BlackBerry stating that it’s going to roll out more Android devices that play to its strength of keyboards and security, this could be a niche the company can really tap into.
Who has better keyboards: The keyboard is clearly the USP of this phone. It is both functional and practical like any BlackBerry QWERTY. But it also gives you full options to use just the virtual keyboard and not slide out the physical keys. I have used a blackberry phone for a few years, moving on from a Nokia E series business phone. So I am very used to physical keyboards on phones and have been filing and editing copies on phones for close to a decade. But the last BlackBerry phone I used was well over a year back and I now realise that I’m more comfortable using the virtual keyboard instead of the physical keys. So BlackBerry will have a challenge getting people who have moved on from physical keys to adjust them again. However, it will be able to cash in on the thousands who have not been able to adjust to virtual keyboards. And yes, like in the Q10 the surface of the keypad can be used as a trackpad too.
The right tweaks: BlackBerry has been good enough to retain most natural elements of Android while adding their bits as add-ons and not as a wrap like other manufacturers have tried. I found the BlackBerry hub to be a great productivity app given that it plugs all my incoming messages into a single app with fewer chances of missing out on stuff. The gestures from BB10 OS have been added in a way to conjure what you need when you need it. Smart widgets work a bit like 3D Touch and are innovative, helping keep the home screens clean and clutter-free. I loved the shortcuts on the home screen to things you need the most like battery percentage, compose mail and so on. You will need to curate them a bit, but these are again very practical.

Design: The design is nothing revolutionary, certainly not for BlackBerry. But it seems to be the most natural way to add physical keys without making them look like an appendage. The overall size of the phone is very handy and if no one told you, there is no way to figure out that this phone has a slide out keyboard.
Call quality: One BlackBerry goodness that people take for granted is the overall call quality. If you are the sort that value your business then these calls are important enough for you to be able to communicate effectively in the traditional ways too. This phone has one of the best call quality I have experienced in recent times, both on the handset and on speaker phone.
Before you think I have sold out to BlackBerry, please note that this is my first blackberry device and I am just appreciating a good work done.

"Give us more juice": Hydrogen cell fuel technology could give you week's battery in single charge

With this new technology, your phone could get an entire week's battery life in a single charge.

"Give us more juice" was the cry from tech enthusiasts at this year's Consumer Electronics Show held in January in Las Vegas and the number one item on their tech wish list was better battery life, Fortune said in its survey report.

To this increasing demand, Intelligent Energy -- a 27-year-old British company working on clean power technology -- has an answer.

The company, in partnership with an "emerging" smartphone manufacturer, is working to bring hydrogen fuel cell technology to mobile devices that could give more life to batteries in a single charge.

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"Hydrogen fuel cells do not work like conventional lithium-ion batteries, charging and re-charging electrodes every time a phone needs a boost," Fortune reported.

"Instead they generate electricity from a chemical reaction, combining hydrogen with oxygen to create an electrical current as well as a water by-product."

 "This technology can also be used to make a hybrid fuel cell battery. By integrating the powerful fuel cells into a phone battery, the device continues to be wall-chargeable, but also packs a boost of backup power," the report noted.
But to power up a fuel cell, you need to literally gas it up, adding more hydrogen to the device.

 The company had worked with Boeing to develop a fuel cell airplane in 2008 and in 2010 it helped put a fuel cell hybrid black cab on the streets of London.

5 Tips How to Stay Safe Online

With a rapid surge in the number of Indian users coming online, Google India today announced its support towards Safer Internet Day. Google India says it will be providing its consumers a safer Internet experience and rolled out some new features and resources designed to protect users online. From simple initiatives like simplifying security settings to making trustworthy messages easier to spot in Gmail, Google will be driving multiple initiatives to drive awareness about online safety among Indian Internet users. Users can take a quick Security Check-up, to review and manage your Google Account’s security settings and initiate a step towards safe Internet experience.
  1. Use a strong, unique password made up of a mix of letters, numbers, and symbols.
  2. Don’t reuse the same password for important accounts.
  3. Set up two-factor authentication to add an extra layer of security, in addition to your password.
  4. Check your account recovery information and add a phone number or other contact info. This enables us to help you in case you get locked out.
  5. Do a Security Checkup to make sure your Google account’s security settings are up to date: checkup. Sunita Mohanty Director, Trust and Safety, Google India, said, “With an increase in the number of users coming online and the rise in the penetration of smartphone users in India, we at Google are committed to offering users a safe Internet experience. We are adding five million new users a month taking the user base of ‘connected’ Indians to 500 millions online by 2018-2019. It’s more important now than ever before to ensure the data and profiles of these users is safe online. Thus Safer Internet Day is a great opportunity to focus on online safety and drive awareness for a better Internet."

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Hacking work: How to break the rules to work better

Friday, May 4, 2012

Olympic Games 'not immune' to cyber-attack

The London Olympics "will not be immune" to cyber-attack, Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude has warned.
He said attackers "would seek to disrupt the Games", noting that the Beijing Olympics saw 12 million cybersecurity incidents in 2008.
"We have rightly been preparing for some time a dedicated unit which will help guard the London Olympics against cyber-attack," he said.

Hackers takes Soca crime agency website down

The website of the UK's Serious Organised Crime Agency (Soca) has been taken offline following a cyber-attack.
Soca confirmed to the BBC that had suffered a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack.
A spokesman said the site was taken offline at 22:30 on Wednesday, but that the attack did not "pose a security risk to the organisation".

Microsubmarines could clean oil spills, researchers say

Tiny submarines that are 10 times smaller than the width of a human hair could be used to clean up oil spills, researchers have suggested.
The self-propelled microsubmarines are able to gather oil droplets and take them to collection facilities.
The team from the University of California San Diego's nano-engineering department said their tests showed "great promise".

Facebook IPO values company at between $85bn and $95bn

Facebook has set the share price for its upcoming initial public offering (IPO) at between $28 and $35 per share, valuing the company at between $85bn-$95bn (£52bn-£59bn).
The IPO is set to be the largest ever for an internet firm, bigger than Google's valuation of $23bn in 2004.
IPOs are when companies list shares on the stock market for the first time.
Facebook is set to list on the Nasdaq and would rival Amazon's and Cisco System's current market values.

London to test 'smart city' operating system

An operating system designed to power the smart cities of the future will be put through its paces in London.
Living Plan IT has developed its Urban OS to provide a platform to connect services and citizens.
With partners including Hitachi, Phillips and Greenwich council, it aims to use the Greenwich peninsula as a testbed for new technologies running on the system.

IPv6: Europe 'ahead' in new net address scheme

Norway is leading the way in preparing for the move to the net's new addressing scheme, a survey has shown.
The survey comes a month before World IPv6day that will see many v6 websites permanently activated.
The new IPv6 scheme is needed because the older system, IP Version 4, is about to run out of addresses.
Compiled by Europe's net address overseer, RIPE, the report found that Norway was ahead of Asian nations where IPv4 addresses are no longer available.