The Ultimate Cell Unlocking Bull Shit Challenge

2 Aug

Hi Everyone!

This post is going to serve as a review of 3 different cell phone unlocking companies who all make claims of having a quick turn around for their unlocking services. The three services we are going to look at are:

For this post we will be looking to unlock a Blackberry KeyOne from Rogers with each of the three carriers.

Price / Unlock Delivery Time

Blackberry Code Source: $23.95 USD 24 Hours

  • Emailed twice asking for an update and was told it would be a full 24 hours.
  • No Code Received as of the 24 hour mark.

Unlock.CanadaGSM.ca: $16.00 1-24 Hours

  • Emailed more than twice asking for an update and was told a full 24 hours was required.
  • No Code Received as of the 24 hour mark and even the 48 hour mark.
  • Support does not speak English as a first language.

CellUnlocker.net: $24.95 (Price Matched Unlock.CanadaGSM.ca at $16) 1-24 Hours

  • Emailed and Live chatted asking for updates.
  • Was told there was a delay twice and have still not received a code.
  • Support does not speak English as a first language.

Actual Delivery Time

Blackberry Code Source:  Ordered at 4:21 AM on August 2nd Received: (Not Received Yet)

Unlock.CanadaGSM.ca: Ordered at 9:02PM July 31st Received: (Not Received Yet)

CellUnlocker.net:Ordered at 7:24PM on August 1st 2017 Received: (Not Yet Received)

So as you can see, at present I have not received a code from a single one of these vendors. Granted some of them have had more time than others.

1 vendor has already failed to meet their delivery time. Unlock.CanadaGSM.com told me 1-24 hours they could have an unlock code for me. Then when I emailed them asking why I hadn’t received a code yet (around 7PM) they assured me I would have it within a couple of hours. They are now not responding to my emails and are 36 hours into the order. Needless to say, I’ll never order from these guys again.

 

Update 08/03/2017

As you can see by the updated post above, not one of these providers could deliver on their timing promises. Each one of them states different reasons for the delay, and to be honest I find this to be rather frustrating. These providers falsely advertise their services as being fast and dependable and while that might be true a hand full of times, in my experience, this is the general experience people get. These providers should be able to tell you how long it’s going to take to retrieve a code, and should have some kind of penalty for not meeting advertised timelines.

Review: Blackberry KeyOne

17 Jun
Blackberry KeyOne

The Blackberry KeyOne is the first device that Blackberry has produced in recent memory that really had me excited about owning a Blackberry again.

Blackberry has finally created an Android device with the latest version of the operating system as well as a fantastic camera, large battery, and best of all a physical keyboard that only Blackberry knows how to do.

Battery Life

The battery life on the Blackberry KeyOne is absolutely insane! On reddit some users have posted over 10 hours of screen on time on a single charge. I’ve had slightly lower numbers than that, but I also was never able to drain the battery entirely in a day.

Camera Quality

The camer a sensor is the very same sensor in the Google Pixel and Pixel XL devices. It turns out some pretty incredible photos and videos.

 

Call Quality

The call quality on the Blackberry KeyOne has been absolutely stellar. Callers are loud and clear and can hear me just as clearly. Not much else to say about this. It works tremendously well as a phone.

Build Quality

The build quality on the Blackberry KeyOne is truly exquisite. The full metal body with the curved screen edges and the grippy textured back make this device a delight to hold in your hand.

Conclusion

The full outright cost of the Blackberry KeyOne is $729 unlocked from Blackberry, and for the price you get a great camera, fantastic battery life, and a physical keyboard. If these are things that are important to you as they are to me, then this is a fantastic device to consider.

Novotel Ottawa Review

18 Apr

A few weeks ago Jenn and I had the chance to have our very own little staycation here in Ottawa. We picked out a hotel and a couple of things to check out and overall had a great time. The hotel we selected was the Novotel in Ottawa on Nicholas Street.

The Low Down

Cost per night: $200 CAD + $23/Night parking.

Address: 33 Nicholas Street Ottawa, Ontario Canada

The Room

We were given room 441 to stay in which is a single king sized bed. The bed was large and comfortable and we easily fell asleep in it.


The room overall felt really cramped and small for $200 a night.

Overall

Overall the room was nice and the location was prime, but we’ve stayed in much nicer hotels for much less money in downtown Toronto.

Thoughts on the Alcatel Onetouch Idol 3

20 Jan
Alcatel Onetouch Idol 3

While Alcatel is not a well known player in the mobile device game, the Onetouch Idol 3 is a budget device that offers quite a bit for such a small price tag. Bear in mind I’ve only had this device for about 12 hours, but having owned quite a few “budget” devices, I have to say that this is a very impressive device

The Alcatel Onetouch Idol 3 comes in at $312 off contract and can be had for $0 assuming you want to take one of those tab dealies that the carriers all offer.

I took some sample photos that you can have a look at below, but this phone easily destroys the Motorola Moto G 2015 and is within the same price range as the Moto G.

As you can see, it takes some damn good photos. These photos are taken with the flash off and with absolutely nothing done to them. Just auto mode photos.

I’ve got to say I am impressed! Will have a full review once I’ve used it for a few days.

Review: Motorola Moto G 2015

19 Jan

The 2015 edition of the Motorola Moto G comes with some awesome changes but also comes with a ton of caveats for us here in Canada. So without further ado, let’s get into it.

Moto G 2015 Storage Space

In Canada, the only version of the Moto G 2015 that is available is the 8GB Model. We’re also lacking access to Moto Maker which is an online application that lets you really customize your Motorola Products which is incredibly annoying.

Having 8GB of storage does not imply usable. The usable storage is about 4GB once the OS takes its share.

Moto G 2015 RAM

Again being in Canada we only have the weaker version of this device available which is the model that comes equipped with 1GB of RAM and it really does show its weakness while using the device.

I’ve experienced constant stutters and slow downs entirely at random and depending on what it is you’re doing, you can crash this phone pretty easily. I was able to crash it by installing Instagram and Facebook Pages manager at the same time. This device truly struggles to keep up with Android and don’t even get me started when more than one app needs an update!

You essentially need to manually update each app one by one otherwise your phone will be completely unusable and will likely crash.

Moto G 2015 Camera

While the camera on the new Moto G is a 13 megapixel sensor, the image quality regardless of lighting is something that “will do in a pinch” but is not something that will produce photos that you’re going to want to share.

Even with HDR enabled the photos look washed out and extremely blurry. Indoor photos with decent lighting still end up looking like something you shot back in 2000 with one of those cheap digital cameras from China that hooked on to your keys. The camera is truly disappointing.

Keep in mind all of the photos above are taken in the same lighting conditions with no flash and HDR enabled. I found it truly difficult to get a photo that looked decent.

Summary

In the end, this is a “cheap” phone coming in at $240 off contract but still…. You figure if you’re going to put a 13MP sensor in this damn thing that it would be capable of taking a photo that doesn’t look like a VGA camera.

If you’re looking for a similarly designed phone, spend the extra $100 or so and get yourself a Moto X or Moto X Play depending on where you live.

I really want to love this phone, but I can’t.

Review: Database by Design LLC Servers

11 Jan
Database By Design Logo

Database by Design LLC is a new provider I’ve decided to give a try. They have a fantastic promotional auction going on over at WebHosting Talk that will get you this configuration much cheaper than you normally would get it for.

Config and Benchmark

Customer Service

I have to admit that usually with budget servers, the customer service is the first thing you loose. Database by Design LLC had my server up and running in under 24 hours from placing my order.

When I received the server it came with CentOS as a default and I wanted Debian installed and since the server had IPMI I was able to do this myself. When I tried to load up the ISO, the IPMI interface was locked out from virtual media. I emailed their support and within 2 minutes I received a response and got sorted out. (Thanks Ryan!)

Did I mention this issue was at 4AM EST?!?! It was incredible to get this fast of a response at 4AM on a Saturday morning!

Overall

This server is an absolute steal for the price! The support is fantastic, the network is quick, and the config is great for my needs and the needs of many others.

If you’re in the market for an east coast server with a great network and low latency in Canada, you should give them a try! Hit the WebHosting Talk thread and get it while you can!

Review: Hudson Valley Host E3-1240 Dedicated Server

5 Jan
Hudson Valley Host Logo

Hudson Valley Host is a Dedicated server provider that offers services in several data centers across the United States at a fraction of the price of some of the bigger competitors around. The owner Ernie is a fantastic person to do business with and is always willing to work out a deal. Enough with the pleasantries, on with the review!

Config and Benchmark

 

This server is located in the Dupont Fabros Facility in Toronto. The network is rock solid and blazingly fast as demonstrated by the benchmark above.

Pricing and Availability

The configuration of this server is as follows:

  • Xeon E3-1240 @ 3.3 GHz
  • 16GB of RAM
  • 1TB HDD
  • 10TB of Bandwidth
  • 13 IP addresses (/28 Subnet)

The price of the above configuration is $75 USD per month and is worth every penny as far as I’m concerned.

Generally availability of these machines in the Chicago facility is rare, because the network is rock solid and people very seldom cancel services in this particular data center. So if Hudson Valley Host tells you they have one available, you better snatch it up.

Customer Service

This is where Hudson Valley Host leaves everyone in the dust. Their staff are incredible, friendly, and are always willing to help. They are led by owner Ernie who is a terrific salesman and is always willing to work out a deal. I seldom have had to wait any longer than an hour for a support response and have had zero downtime in over a year of working with Hudson Valley Host.

Overall Experience

My experiences with Hudson Valley Host have always been positive and I am glad to have found a provider who has bent over backwards to help myself and my business out of certain situations that have come up in the last year. They’ve handled my account professionally and expediently any time I’ve had a need.

Hudson Valley Host offers tremendous value for the money you spend with them, and you’d be unwise to not give them a try.

Check out their services here, and do leave a comment if you have any questions or specific requests in terms of benchmarks.

Review: QuadIX Dedicated Servers

31 Dec

Many of you may have noticed that my blog has been offline for the last 24 hours or so. This was due to a backup and move that I was doing for 2016.

I tend to keep my own personal server for a couple of different things.

One being my blog, and another for a personal instance of Owncloud that I use for backing up photos and other miscellaneous documents and media. Next year I am hedging my blog and my backups on a company known as QuadIX.

QuadIX is a subsidiary company of VolumeDrive that offers budget dedicated servers at incredible pricing and offers pretty fantastic customer support.

I’ve been laying in wait for one of their E3 1230 systems to come available so that I could migrate everything over and a couple of days ago one came free.

First let me give you an idea of the config I purchased:

Config and Benchmark

This configuration of a server normally costs between $49 and $149 depending on the provider. QuadIX charges $27.95 for this configuration. I made a couple of small changes opting for an SSD as the main drive and a 3TB HDD to house any data I may want to store. The server is snappy and responsive, and is currently not only hosting this blog but a few other VPSes as well.

In order to have this config changed around it was a simple as a couple of emails to their support techs and a phone call to their 877 number. I spoke to Josh and Dominick and both were more than helpful and accommodating to any requests I made.

For the price, you cannot beat this deal. Visit QuadIX and configure one for yourself!

Thoughts on the ZTE Axon

23 Dec

The Axon is a new premium device from manufacturer ZTE that is usually known for low cost Android devices. That being said, the Axon is far from being a budget Android device in the traditional sense.

The Axon is available exclusively from Fido here in Canada at $0 on a 2 year tab / contract and $400 outright and at that price point you may be thinking to yourself: “Another budget Android phone with crap hardware.” Right?? Right??

I’ve had the absolute pleasure of using this device for the last week or so and thought I would jot down some quick information that will show you just how much of a power house this device is for the price.

The Spec Sheet

CPU: Quad-core 2.3 GHz Krait 400

GPU: Adreno 330

Storage: 32GB (About 25GB Available)

Camera: 13 MP + 2MP (Dual camera), autofocus, dual-LED flash

Additional Features: Hi Fidelity Audio, Fast Battery Charging, 8MP front facing “Selfie” camera.

The Camera

I’ve been thoroughly impressed with some of the shots I’ve been able to get with this device simply sitting on auto without any manual adjustment. Here’s a small collection of photos I’ve taken.

The Battery

In my humble opinion ZTE has knocked it out of the park with this devices battery! It is by far the absolute longest lasting battery I’ve seen in an Android device.

ZTE_Axon_Battery_Life

As you can see in the screen grab above the battery was sitting at 47% after a full day of usage with the screen on over 50% of the time! I’ve never witnessed battery life this good in an Android device. Generally speaking, 2 hours of screen on time is the most I’ve been able to pull out of most newer Android devices.

The Bad

Every device has certain pain points that can frustrate the crap out of you. My biggest issue with the ZTE Axon is the custom UI they’ve squeezed into this device. While it may be running Android 5.1.1, the UI sometimes lags like you would not believe and even crashes sometimes. Thankfully this can be fixed with an update, but I do find the UI to be rather frustrating sometimes when it lags or crashes.

That’s about the only negative thing I can say about this phone. It’s a great deal for the price and packs some pretty awesome features and battery life.

Motorola Moto X Play

24 Sep

moto-x-play-blackThe Moto X Play is this years new Motorola Moto X device at least here in Canada. It has impressive specs, expandable storage, and the latest flavor of Android.

All that being said, my personal experience with the Moto X Play has been rather frustrating.

The Purchase

I headed over to my local Telus store and bought my new Motorola Moto X Play outright and raced to get home and play with it.

The Return

All was well for the first few days before I bothered to put a MicroSD card in it to expand the storage. This is where the problem began and persists.

The first device I purchased had a non-functioning MicroSD card reader. I promptly exchanged it for another new device which when tested, was working as expected.

Testing MicroSD Cards

Now for anyone who knows me knows that I swap my sim into multiple devices that I like to use from time to time. This is when I noticed that anytime the SD card had to be read by the device, it would tell me that the card was corrupted and needed to be formatted.

In order to eliminate any doubt around the quality of my MicroSD card, I made sure to try the same thing with multiple different brands and sizes of memory cards. Same issue with each and every card.

The Discovery

I determined that the issue with the Moto X Play memory card reader is that if the card is not perfectly in the little tray, the reader decides that the card is corrupt. The fact that the SD card is on the back side of the SIM tray makes the method of installing a MicroSD card properly nearly impossible. Why not just have a slot on the side Motorola? Why attach it to the sim tray in a way that doesn’t even ensure the card is in place properly and leaves enough wiggle room for the card to move around in the phone once inserted.

I really like the Motorola Moto X, but have lost enough photos and videos from my memory cards to give up on it. Going to stick with my OnePlus Two until that hot new Android powered Blackberry slider comes out.