Thursday, November 1, 2012

Use Fido Dollars to get free Caller ID

Fido Dollars can be redeemed for a number of things, many quite useless and overpriced, but you can get caller ID for months on end.

Fido will say that only 1 month can be claimed before you get charged, but all you have to do is call them before the term expires and ask for an additional month. Sometimes they can add 2 or more months if you talk to the right customer service representative.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Motorola Defy - Upgrade to Android Jelly Bean

This is a quick guide to help you upgrade your old Motorola Defy to the newer generation of Android mobile OS. There are tutorials out there that are just too long and tedious to follow, but the following steps should save you a lot of time.

** There are 4 major steps that need to be done to the phone

Download the Motorola device drivers for Windows. Connect your phone to your computer and make sure the drivers install properly and it is recognized.

1) Now you must Root the phone:
  • On your phone, go to Settings > Applications > Development > USB Debugging. This box should be clicked
  • SuperOneClick is probably the easiest root tool to automate this process. Download here. Once installed, plug in your phone to your computer and from the computer program interface, click 'Root'. Once this process is done, click 'Allow Non Market Apps' from the program. Close the program when all is done
  • If you had trouble using SuperOneClick, you can always try to root your phone manually. Cyanogenmod wiki has a tutorial. I tried following this at first with no avail. 
2) Once your phone is rooted, it needs a Bootmenu:
  • Download 2ndInit. Scroll down the first post until you reach the Attached Files section. Firstly, you will need an QR Code reading app on your Android phone. There are a couple of free ones on the Google Play Store. Once you have installed the QR reader, on your computer, click the newest SndInitDefy file (I downloaded 2.3). Use the QR reader on your phone to scan the code that appears your computer screen. Once downloaded, open and install it. 
3) Now that the bootmenu is installed, it's time to download the new Jelly Bean update and Google Apps.
  • Jelly Bean: Quarx is a developer that has been working hard to get the new Jelly Bean OS to work. Find the newest cm10 nightly build for your Defy here. Save the .zip file to your computer. There is no need to extract it.
  • Google Apps: Download the newest gapps here. The link should be on the first post. Save the file to your computer. 
  • Now that you have downloaded both files, you must move them to the root folder of your SD card
    • Plug in your phone. It should appear as a drive. Move the cm10 and gapps file to the root. 
** Make sure your personal information is backed up. If you have your phone synced to your Google account, you won't need to worry about backing up your contacts, e-mail etc.

4) It's time to install the new updates.

First, open the bootmenu you downloaded earlier on your phone and make sure it's working. The version I have tells the user it's ready when the green led is on. Now, shut down your phone. When you turn it back on, you will see the Motorola icon. Once it disappears and the blue led on the top of your phone blinks, press the volume down button. This should get you in the bootmenu.
  • Go to Recovery > Custom Recovery > Wipe Data/Factory Reset > Yes. You can make a backup your previous installation before your wipe everything away.
  • From the same Custom Recovery menu, go to Advanced > Wipe Dalvic Cache > Yes
  • Time to install the 2 files we downloaded earlier
    • Custom Recovery > Install zip from sdcard. Find the cm10 file and install. Do the same for the gapps.
    • Once both are installed, find the 'Reboot system now' option in the Custom Recovery menu of the bootmenu.
    • Done!
The phone should reboot into the new Cyanogen Jelly Bean update.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Canada Line transit to Vancouver

If you're taking the Canada Line from the airport to the city, you will notice that the price of a 1-zone and up ride listed on the ticket machine charges an extra $5. You can save yourself this $5 by buying a faresaver ticket. Remember to have an extra ticket with you for your arrival the next time you leave the city.

When buying a ticket through the machine, remember that a 1-zone ticket will get you anywhere around Richmond. If you're traveling more than 2-zones, just add fare to your 1-zone ticket.

Discount fare periods (1-zone fare will you travel multiple zones): Weekdays after 6:30 pm and all day Saturday, Sunday & statutory holidays.

Traveling to Manhattan through Newark airport

A few tips for those traveling to the Big Apple through Newark airport.
  • An easy and cost effective way to get to Manhattan from Newark airport is the NJ Transit line. Take an AirTrain from the airport to the first NJ Transit stop and from there, hop on a train to New York Penn Station. Cost should be around $12 one-way. 
  • Arriving in Newark airport affords you a free ride on the AirTrain.
  • NJ Transit line does not run between 2am - 5am. This is what's stated on the website, but there may be trains that start at 4am.
Going back to Newark airport from Manhattan is pretty much the same. Take a NJ Transit train from New York Penn station to Newark airport. Remember to keep your train ticket as it allows you to take the AirTrain to the airport for free.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The best walkaround lenses for a crop-body camera

For this post, a Canon crop body will be my point of reference

Some factors to consider when buying a lens:

  • Maximum aperture (lowest f-stop)
  • Focal range
  • Image quality
  • Build quality

For a walkaround lens on a crop body, you will want the minimum focal range to be around 17mm. The range of any lens you attach to your camera will be magnified 1.6x. 17mm will be 27mm and so on. This is important because you will want some wide-angle options. On a full-frame, 17mm stays as is.

The list

17mm+ lenses


Sigma 17-50mm f/2.8 EX DC OS HSM

Has constant f/2.8 aperture and Sigma’s version of image stabilization (IS)

Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4 DC Macro OS HSM

Has macro, but doesn’t have a constant f/2.8 aperture.


Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 XR Di II VC LD Aspherical IF SP AF

Has image stabilization but average build quality. f/2.8 aperture


Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM

This lens has the best build quality of all the lenses I’m listing since it’s in the L series. It’s the most durable and heavy of all the lenses in this list. It’s a bit slow at f/4 and doesn’t have IS, but if you ever decide to upgrade to a full-frame body in the future, this lens will give you great wide-angle shots. Your body can accept EF and EF-S lenses, but full frames can only take EF. This particular lens is an EF lens.

Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM

In the EF-S walkaround range, all lenses compete with this. It’s not an L lens, but has L lens elements and great image quality with a constant f/2.8 aperture. Build quality is not the greatest though.


Canon EF-S 15-85mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM

People seem to like this lens because of its overall quality, but it’s not very fast if you take a look at its aperture.

Canon EF-S 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 IS

This is Canon’s best superzoom lens. Has an amazing range, but sacrifices speed and image quality. This is a lazy traveler’s lens.

Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM

L lens with great everything, but its range is more suited for full-frame bodies. Also not the fastest at f/4