Brief Review of the AT&T BlackBerry Passport

11/17/2015 UPDATE I am very happy about the arrival of the Blackberry Priv. I think it will create an awesome synergy between Blackberry Security/Quality and Android App availability.

Blackberry Passport Review

This is a really well built Phone! The keyboard speakers, and screen are awesome!…

However, there are some issues, first with the AT&T Version and GPS, secondly with the OS in general and lastly with the lack of Widgets/Tiles.
1.) The GPS Issue:
The Blackberry map app has difficulty locking on to GPS Satellites, therefore does not work well for Navigation. I kept getting an BlackBerry error 1001 and 1003 when trying to locate my current position on the map.. I think GPS is only a problem with the AT&T version of the device. The GPS signal seems so weak that the maps only refresh periodically.
2.) The OS Issues:
The Multiple App Stores make for a rather disjointed experience. You have Blackberry AppWorld, Amazon App Store and you can “hack” in a version of the Google Play Store. The Android Apps generally work well, but are not always sized correctly and take more battery than others. You get the idea that Blackberry OS10 is just a Bolt-On to the old but reliable Blackberry Email System. Also, while the Hub is as awesome as as it’s ever been it is also pretty much the same as it’s always been…displaying hundreds of text notifications from all kinds of Apps on the phone.
3.) Widgets and the Lack Thereof.
What was really missing is what Android has in Widgets and what Windows (Mobile) Phone 8.1 calls Live Tiles. There is no simple easy way to see current temperature or any other real time information for that matter. To get real time information, you have to open each App sort of like the iPhone, except the iPhone can show this information in the Notification DropDown.. After awhile I got the feeling like I was an inexperienced Linux user who just installed Ubuntu…”Kind of like now what?’…the interface is kind of blank and empty as if BlackBerry forgot something. It’s not just minimalistic -it’s empty! Hub, Windows & Apps….that’s it, Somebody said leave your apps open as Windows and you will see there statuses, but that is nothing like a Live Tile or a Widget. Someone else suggested looking ot the Hub for Weather Alerts or installing a Third Party home Screen App.

Other than that an excellent Sturdy Device. It is the kind of phone that could hold up to anything and last forever. It is extremely High Quality.

I would only recommend if you are a bit of a hacker type and don’t need GPS, just use email on your phone and/or can stand some inconsistency in an otherwise well-built device.


Reinstall Your Nokia Lumia with the Standard Operating System

Why would you reinstall your OS? Well maybe you are having some glitches or technical issues with your phone. Or perhaps you are trying out the Windows 8.1 Dev Preview and wish to return back to culturally acceptable Windows Phone 8? Well this recovery tool will erase everything on your phone a do a complete reinstall of Windows Phone 8.

It’s called the Nokia Recovery tool and it allows you to reinstall the latest released version of your Nokia’s Windows Phone 8 software to your phone.

Synchredible & BackUpMaker

You can now purchase two of my favorite backup software Titles on eBay: Synchredible and Backup Maker. While the software is free the license removes the ads in the software.

This software comes to us from Deutschland.

The Synchredible Synchronization Software can sync files from multiple computers with many options.

Synchredible works great to sync OneDrive folders.

BackupMaker is a great Product as well, making full and incremental BACKUPS.

Splitting Large Files Using 7 ZIP Command Line for SkyDrive / OneDrive

If you use SkyDrive or some other file sharing servicing, you may have realized that these services come with upload restrictions. SkyDrive is 2GB and Google Drive is 10GB (Microsoft are you listening?) 7zip, my favorite & free file compression utility, offers to split large files into multiple smaller ones based on a maximum file size.(Did I mention it is free?) This is real easy to do in the full 7zip software as shown below. Any files over 2GB are split into file.7z.001, file.7z.002, file.7z.003 (not their real names). You can later use the 7zip program to recombine them into one file or directory again. Right click the file you wish to be smaller so it uploads successfully & select Add to Archive. The specify in the Split Volume bytes field a value of 2GB or in the case of SkyDrive/OneDrive 1900M to be safe & below the threshold.

Option to Split Files in 7zip

Option to Split Files in 7zip

But how do you do this from the command line? Well with thanks to a little help from this link we van now specify a maximum volume size in 7zip. Enter -v switch. Here is the syntax: -v{Size}[b | k | m | g] Here b is bytes, k is kilobytes, m is megabytes & you guessed it, g is gigabytes. So it could potentially look something like this 7z a a.7z *.txt -v10k -v15k -v2m. Just add a -v switch with a number and data measurement behind it. -v11k is 11 kilobytes before 7zip splits it. -v2g is 2GB before 7 zip splits it. Or in my case when using SkyDrive something like this. (Note: Skydrive/OneDrive does not like folks going over 2GB on uploads, so set yours to about 1900m to be safe.)

cd /D E:SkyDrive

for /d %%X in (*) do C:Batch7za9207za.exe u “E:SkyDriveArchive%%X.7z” “%%X” -y -mx9 -mmt –v1900m -we:temp


So now you can always have an archival copy of all your data on SkyDrive, but be warned, you may have a lot of split files to merge back together if you ever need to restore them.


Review of Acronis TrueImage Premium Backup Features

A Little Backup History:
I originally started out like most folks and backed up to a cd or flash drive.
Then online backup became popular.
More recently there are cloud file sharing services which serve as backups to a degree.
But what if all you items on the cloud drive become deleted?
And what do you do if you want to quickly recover from a HD drive failure or migrate to a new PC?
Can you wait three days for all your files to be restored and downloaded for three days grinding your internet to a halt?
Windows 7 built in backup was fairly straightforward, but what about Windows 8.1?
Or maybe the solution is to write yourself a nifty xcopy batch file

Then there is the need for syncing files on different PC’s. You can use Microsoft’s Sync Toy or use a Robocopy batch file.

Then the occasional need to clone an HD or that new SSD?

Well after years of trying all the free solutions, I purchased Acronis  Premium and am really impressed.
1. It has bare metal backup and recovery of data and system partitions.
2. You can also burn a rescue disc which lets you start recovery from any available media with a backup on it.
3. It supports network and USB drives.
2.It has file backup with all kinds of schemes from Incremental to Differential to Full with Incremental being default and supports versioning.
3. Since World Backup Day is coming up Acronis is giving away 250GB of cloud storage with a purchase. The online backup is seamlessly integrated into the software just like everything else. A cloud portal and phone apps let you access your files on the go. And the backup is fairly fast.
4. Acronis comes with a default sync folder which is shared by your three PC’s separately from your other  backup schemes. It is like a briefcase everyone can work out of. Also you can sync directories across the network as well. When directory A is updated Directory B receives the changes and vice-versa. This works nice for syncing two cloud storage accounts like Google Drive or Dropbox.
5. A lot of extra disc tools are included of which the most important is the cloning tool in my opinion. Clone to that new HD in a couple simple screens.

I am just really impressed. This really seems like a fully featured, yet “set it and forget it system”. Acronis TrueImage Premium provides multiple backup configuration, methods and  schemes to meet the needs of the majority of users.

Simple Media Apps for Windows 8 & RT

Hypertube- The Missing Windows 8 App?

This is everything you would expect from a YouTube App, especially since Microsoft & Google haven’t agreed on the Win 8 YouTube App. You can hide suggested videos and popular now and just see your subscriptions.

This is a nice clean Metro App  for Youtube & with the paid app you can remove  YouTube feeds and Suggested Videos & just see your subscriptions. You subscriptions’ latest uploads show up nicely on the Live Tile & you have the ability to download and save video and audio for later offline use

MegaTube – Youtube Player/Downloader

While not perfect, this is a nice clean Metro App  for Youtube from which you can remove  YouTube feeds and Suggested Videos & just see your subscriptions. You subscriptions’ latest uploads show up nicely on the Live Tile & you have the ability to download and save video and audio for later offline use. While a little rough around the edges, all the functionality you need for simple youtube watching is here. Thumbs up to the developer! We hope they continue to develop this app.

Media Monkey

This is my favorite Windows 8 Media  player.

Metro Media Player Pro

Tired of the big bloated Xbox Video and Xbox Music apps with tons of ugly ads? Try a nice simple Audio & Video Player & enjoy your own music and video file with a Windows 8 App experience.

MODERN.IE F12 Renders Page as Chrome, Safari or Firefox


If you use Internet Explorer to browse the web or are a web developer there are a lot of neat tools to be had at MODERN.IE (even the occasional free Pizza.) You can download a VM browser of any of the major browser makers or try a free 3 month trial on browser stack.

Anyway for those uncooperative sites that refuse to work properly in IE try opening the F12 developer tools. Now you can re-render the page in whatever IE browser you desire as well as change the browser headers to match any of the major web browsers.

This could prove beneficial as well for the casual, but techie web surfer who comes upon a stubborn page.

For interest’s sake I used the first website that ever existed to demonstrate the functionality.