Sunday, January 29, 2012

Blackberry Bold 9700 running BB OS 6.x

When I purchased my Blackberry Bold 9700, it came with BB OS 5.x. I've been using BB OS 6.x on my Blackberry Bold 9700 for approximately 1 year after Research in Motion released it for the Blackberry Bold 9700.

My personal impressions of BB OS 6.x is that it is nice but I don't recommend it for the Bold 9700. If you have a choice between keeping your Bold 9700 running OS 5 or running it on OS 6, my personal feeling is that you should run it on OS 5.

OS 6 is a memory hog and with the limited amount of memory on the Bold 9700, after installing OS 6 on it, I can only install ~15 applications onto it whereas when my Bold 9700 was running OS 5, I had double the amount of applications without any major problems (or warning messages about running low on memory). OS 6 also seems to be optimized for a touchscreen which the Bold 9700 doesn't have. In my opinion, it is easier to navigate using a touchscreen with OS 6 (I've tested it with one of the touchscreen Blackberry devices and find OS 6 to be quite good on it).

My primary problem with OS 6 on my Bold 9700 is the amount of memory that it requires (which doesn't leave a lot of room for other applications). There is also an incompatibility between the current version of SlingPlayer for the Blackberry and OS 6 (according to Sling Media's website, it is compatible with OS 5 only). It is still possible to run SlingPlayer on my Bold 9700 running OS 6 but it is somewhat unstable. At times it will run and other times without any indications on what the problem is, it won't run. Even doing a battery pull at this point won't cause the program to run again.

It is possible to revert back to OS 5 after upgrading to OS 6. I haven't done so mainly because of the time involved in doing OS installs on the Blackberry (it can take a few hours).

If you have any questions/comments regarding this blog entry, please don't hesitate to leave a comment in the comments section.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

CradlePoint MBR1000 Review

After my old CradlePoint CTR-350 (reviewed in an earlier blog entry) abruptly stopped working after a few years, I started shopping for a new replacement router that would accept my USB data modem. Since I had a good experience with my CradlePoint CTR-350 (see my review of the CTR-350 *HERE*), I opted to take a look at the CradlePoint line of cellular wireless routers and came across the CradlePoint MBR-1000.

CradlePoint no longer sells the MBR1000 model so I managed to find one at an excellent price. I've been using the CradlePoint MBR-1000 for a few months now and I find that it works very well with both my USB data modems (Novatel Wireless MC950D & Nokia CS-18).

Like the CradlePoint CTR350, the MBR1000 router has the standard configurations that most wireless routers have. It also has a few configurations specific to cellphone carriers as well as some configurations that aren't part of most router configurations that I've seen. One of the features that both cellular routers have which is not cellular specific is it has the ability to scan the wifi channels in the area and use the wifi channel that will offer the least amount of interference. For example, if a nearby router is broadcasting/transmitting using channel 6, the CradlePoint MBR1000 router (as well as my old CTR350) can be configured so that it automatically won't pick the same channel of nearby routers. Using software, I've tested this and it does do this.

In addition, there are 4 ethernet ports on the router that can used by devices that only have an ethernet port and there is an additional 1 ethernet port which can be used for fail-over (internet backup) purposes. One of the features that the MBR1000 router has which the CTR350 doesn't is the ability to load balance between the "land based" internet provider and the cellular provider (or any of the other connections (USB port & Expresscard port for example). There are 2 USB ports on the MBR1000 which can be used to plug USB modems. There is also 1 Expresscard port.

In terms of the signal strength, I find it to be very good (much better than what I was getting with the CTR350). According to the specifications, the router's range is approximately 750 feet (compared with the 200 feet for the CTR350). The router has the standard security settings and supports 64/128-bit WEP, WPA/WPA2 and WPA-PSK/WPA2-PSK Encryption Protocols. Unlike the CTR350, the MBR1000 also supports the N standard.

I find the cellular router to be very good. It allows me to use my carrier's data network on my various WiFi devices. I'm also not limited to using only 1 connection with my cellular carrier's data network (which was a limitation with the USB cellular data modem). I've tested it with my WiFi Skypephone as well as my PDA and I've connected a few items to it at the same time. According to the specifications for this model, this cellular data router is capable of connecting up to 64 devices to the internet at the same time via WiFi and an "unlimited" number of devices via ethernet connection).

The company also updates their firmware on a regular basis, fixing bugs, adding features, and adding support for more cellular data devices.

Some of the things that I like about this cellular data router:
1) I find the range to be very good.
2) It is easy to configure (or as easy to configure as a regular wireless/wifi router).
3) It is able to change the wireless channel automatically when it powers on.
4) It can be configured to automatically enter your SIM or your device's security PIN.
5) Has some nice (non cellular carrier) features not available/found in regular consumer routers from D-Link, Linksys, etc.

If you have any questions/comments regarding this blog entry, please don't hesitate to leave a comment in the comments section. 

Sunday, January 15, 2012

LG Smart TV Upgrader Box ST600 Review

I've been using an LG Smart TV Upgrader ST600 box for a few months and decided to write a review on it. Since there are different programs/features accessible in different countries, my review will be based on the box being used in Canada.

This box upgrades an existing HD television to a "Smart TV" by allowing you to stream video through such services as YouTube, NetFlix, and Canadian National Film Board onto your HD television. In the US, you would be able to stream/access services such as Pandora (which isn't available in Canada). The Smart TV Upgrader box also allows for web browsing/surfing as well as streaming video, audio, and photos from your PC or associated network capable device (such as a NAS drive). There are some games available via the LG Apps Store.

In Canada, the online content includes NetFlix, YouTube, The National Film Board, Accuweather, Picasa, Ameba (Smart Kids TV),, Funspot, Karaoke Channel, Vtuner, NHL,, Viewster, I-play7u, Dailymotion, and Googlemaps.

The first thing that I did after plugging in the LG Smart TV Upgrader box and connecting it to my television is to update the firmware/software on it. As of this review, the firmware/software is ST 8.79.198.

The box connects to the network either using a standard network cable or using Wi-Fi. Setting up the box to use your home network's WiFi is very simple and I didn't have any issues connecting to two of my routers. I opted to connect to my network using a standard network cable since my television is in close proximity to one of my routers and I felt that the streaming would be better with wired over wireless. However, I did use the box over my wireless network and didn't experience any major issues.

The box uses a standard HDMI cable to connect to your HD television. If your television doesn't include an HDMI port, you are out of luck (unless you purchase or get some type of HDMI converter). The HDMI cable is not included with the unit and you will have to purchase one if you don't already have one. There is also a port for digital audio but I didn't use it.

There is also a USB port that supports external storage (playback) or a USB keyboard or USB mouse. I was able to use a USB keyboard that included a USB hub and then plugged my USB mouse into the USB port on the keyboard and didn't have any issues.

I use my LG Smart TV Upgrader box mainly for watching NetFlix, YouTube, National Film Board, and streaming online content from my PC. I will also use it quickly for Accuweather or to view some of my pictures on Picasa. The box supports almost every video file format that I tried (AVI, MP4, MKV, WMV, DivX). The only video format that I had which it didn't support was FLV. The streaming from my NAS drive and my PC was seamless. There was no buffering or stalling when accessing the media files over my internal network or when accessing Netflix and the National Film Board. However, with YouTube, the videos did occasionally stall. I did notice that it does sometimes abruptly exits Picasa and goes back to the LG Smart TV Upgrader box's home screen. I've read reviews where some people have experienced problems streaming internal videos as well as external videos but excluding the buffering/stalling that I've noticed with YouTube videos, I have not had the issues that these people have had. I'm not sure if it is because I'm using a different firmware version or whether it is because I'm using a wired network connection.

Another issue with viewing YouTube videos with this device (excluding the buffering/stalling which is probably related to my internet speed) is that you can only view YouTube videos, you can't view YouTube movies. The search feature with YouTube sometimes doesn't work immediately and I would have to enter the search string more than once.

The other thing that I find that happens occasionally is that the Smart TV box will sometimes not be able to see my computer on the network using the included Nero Home software. Rebooting my computer normally will fix this or waiting/refreshing the connections list on the Smart TV box will also sometimes help fix this problem. My NAS drive is always seen by the Smart TV box without any major issues. The only issue that I have experienced with my NAS drive and the Smart TV box is viewing my JPG pictures. Occasionally some pictures for some reason are not viewable on the Smart TV box (even though they were taken from the same camera and in the same format). These same pictures are viewable on my PC without any issues.

In terms of the browsing experience, I find it to be a bit lacking. It is extremely slow and the support for more advanced websites which require either java or Flash is extremely limited. I rarely use my Smart TV box to browse the web.

Overall, I'm very satisfied with the LG Smart TV Upgrader box. It could be better but it does what I want without any major issues.

If you have any questions/comments regarding this blog entry, please don't hesitate to leave a comment in the comments section.

*UPDATE: If you want to go to my blog entry on my review of watching Netflix with the LG Smart TV Upgrader Box ST600, please click on *THIS* blog entry.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Glympse Application

I've used Glympse on both my Blackberry Bold 9700, my iPhone 3GS, as well as my Samsung Nexus-S. The version that I'm currently using on my Blackberry Bold 9700 is v1.0.24. Because this program requires a data plan, I currently use it mainly on my Blackberry Bold 9700 unless I go to the US where I will use it in conjunction with my US data SIM either on my iPhone 3GS or my Samsung Nexus-S. On the Blackberry, the map that Glympse uses to show locations is Bing maps whereas on the iOS platform (since it not only works with iPhones but with iPads as well) and the AndroidOS platform, Glympse uses GoogleMaps.

Even though my review is pertaining mainly to my use of Glympse on my Blackberry Bold 9700, there are only minor differences between the different phone versions so my review/comments are pertinent to the other Glympse versions on the other phone models as well.

Glympse is a free program (at the time of this blog entry) that allows you to share with anyone (via e-mail, SMS, Facebook, or Twitter) your location for a specified time frame. What is sent is a link to Glympse's website that will show your "real-time" (within a few seconds) location. The person receiving the link or who clicks on the link will see the route and your current real-time location. If they have Glympse installed on their smartphone (Android, Blackberry, or iPhone), they can enter the Glympse location code into their Glympse program and they will be able to see your real-time location for the duration that you've specified (up to a maximum of 4 hours). If the person doesn't have Glympse installed on his/her internet enabled smartphone, he/she can still see where you are but they will have to manually update/refresh their browser/map in order to know your current location.

Provided that the person with Glympse has a data connection on his/her phone, when the e-mail option is selected, the person whom the Glympse is sent to gets an e-mail from "Glympse Invite" ( with the subject: "Here's  GlympseUserID's location, courtesy of Glympse". In the body of the e-mail message is a URL similar to: The "ABC-DEF" represents the Glympse location code and the recipient of the Glympse e-mail is only required to use this code if he/she has Glympse installed on his/her smartphone (and uses the option in the Glympse menu "View a Glympse". Otherwise, if the recipient is using a computer, he/she can click on the Glympse URL location link which will bring up a map showing the starting position of when the Glympse was actually sent as well as the route taken. When the animation ends, the final location of the arrow in the animation will be the sender's current location (provided that he/she is running Glympse in the background and the duration of the Glympse did not expire).

When sending a Glympse via SMS (text messaging), Glympse will send it using the owner's SMS so depending on the owner and the receiver's respective SMS plans, charges may be incurred by either or both parties.

What I like about this program is that if I'm running late or if I want to meet someone (and they have access to an internet connected PC or internet connected smartphone), they will be able to know where I am. Before my appointment/meeting, I would send them (or upload onto Facebook/Twitter) my Glympse. Using my Glympse location code (or Glympse link), they could then figure out where I am in relation to where they are and have an idea if I am running late or not without the need to contact me to see where I am.

If you have any questions/comments regarding this blog entry, please don't hesitate to leave a comment in the  comments section.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year

I haven't posted in my blog in a long time. As one of my New Year's resolutions, I will try to regularly post on my blog with some tech/gadget reviews, some interesting programs/applications, and my thoughts on certain products/technologies. I hope that everyone enjoys New Year's Day and I wish everyone a happy, healthy, and prosperous 2012.