Insights For Success

Strategy, Innovation, Leadership and Security

Blackberry

OnePlus policy that makes it a better buy than Samsung, HTC or LG

GeneralEdward KiledjianComment
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As a security technologist, the security philosophy of the OEM is a crucial determinant of my decision to buy or recommend a device. This is where Apple shines with it's iPhone update strategy. Every single iPhone receives updates (security and version) at the same time. 

This is why I highly recommend Google's Pixel devices. The Pixel line offers the same regular and speedy update schedule. The other Android manufacturer that has shown it cares about upgrades is OnePlus. Until this week, it did a great job delivering updates quickly, but it didn't formally commit to a software upgrade schedule. 

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All of that changes this week when OnePlus unveiled its new operating system (Android) maintenance schedule. It has copied the Google Pixel model and will deliver major upgrades for two years and security updates for three years. 

As per the maintenance schedule, there will be 2 years of regular software updates from the release date of the phone (release dates of T variants would be considered), including new features, Android versions, Android security patches and bug fixes and an additional year of Android security patch updates every 2 months.
— OnePlus OS Maintenance Schedule

Conclusion

OnePlus has always offered solid well-designed devices at competitive prices. This new software maintenance schedule commitment makes their offering that much more compelling. 

I can no longer recommend devices from manufacturers that do not regularly deliver security and version upgrades. This is why I only recommend Android devices from Google, Blackberry Mobile and OnePlus. 

The 6 apps every traveller should download now

GeneralEdward KiledjianComment
image by  fdecomite  used under Creative Commons License

image by fdecomite used under Creative Commons License

The smartphone has quickly become the most important device we own. It allows us to be productive at work. It allows us to stay in touch with family and friends. It helps keep us healthy and accountable. 

It has also become the travellers best friend. I can't imagine taking a trip without it and here are some of my favourite apps that make travelling better, more efficient and much more fun.

1 - Uber and Lyft

I know Uber and Lyft have created an uproar in dozens of cities around world. Taxi drivers are upset and are lobbying their governments to block them.... Try as you may, you cannot block progress so. I have used Uber's UberX in dozens of cities around the world and it has always been a fantastic experience. 

Sure UberX is cheaper in most cities compared to traditional licensed taxis (cabs) but it is also a much better experience. You can order a car without talking to anyone and are always able to get transportation even during the busiest travel times. I can spend 30-45 minutes in New York or Chicago trying to hail a cab but able can book an UberX within minutes. 

Even with surge pricing, the convenience of Uber makes it a must and therefore number 1 on my list.

2 - Waze

I avoid renting a car whenever possible and choose Uber (see number 1) but regardless of mode of transportation, Waze has found a permanent spot on my must have travel app list. 

Waze has sometimes shown me great shortcuts to beat traffic that I have asked my Uber driver to take (which saves you money).

3 - Rome2Rio

Rome2Rio is a very easy app that allows you to "searches any city, town, landmark, attraction or address across the globe with thousands of multi-modal routes to easily get you from A to B." It is a great way to find great ways to get from point A to point B. It even includes options with Uber, taxi, local public transits (including trains) and more.

4 - Google Translate

Google translate is the babel fish of our time. It breaks through language barriers allowing you to explore freely. In addition to the website, Google offers translate apps for IOS and Android (all free). At it's base, it allows you to translate between 52 languages offline (without an internet connection). It allows you to perform 2 way voice translation in 32 languages and camera translation of text in 29 languages.

This camera translation feature was incorporated when Google bought a company called WorldLens. This cool trick allows you to translate signs, menus and invoices. 

5 - XE Currency Converter

Knowing the conversion between currencies is the difference between getting a good deal or getting taken advantage of. I have been using the XE.com currency conversion on their website for years and the XE app makes everything that much easier (IOS, Android, Windows and Blackberry).

Be careful because you can rarely convert currencies at the listed rate (because most agents make their money by charging a high spread) but it still very useful to know if someone is trying to take advantage of you during currency conversion.

6 - AirHelp

So this isn't an app but it is so good and useful that I just had to add it. AirHelp is a service that helps passengers to secure reasonable compensation from airlines when you are delayed, your flight is cancelled or the flight is overbooked. Most passengers don't know their rights and wouldn't know where to start to seek compensation.  The service is free and starts when you allow them to scan your emails for flight information. They will tell you if you are entitled to a claim and they only get paid if you do (they charge 25% of the compensation amount). They can go back up to 3 years and I have friends that have managed to recover up to $1000. 

AirHelp is an international service so why not try it?

You can pickup a Blackberry PRIV for $299

GeneralEdward KiledjianComment

Blackberry is one of the few Android devices where users are receiving regular security updates. You can pickup an unlocked AT&T version of the Blackberry PRIV for $US299 on eBay.

This is a fantastic price for this device. It is the same price as the new DTEK50 but offers a larger screen and a physical keyboard. Great medium performance phone with a physical keyboard.

Source : eBay

Apple Messages most secure messaging platform

technologyEdward KiledjianComment
Image by  Daniel Dudek-Corrigan  used under Creative Commons License

Image by Daniel Dudek-Corrigan used under Creative Commons License

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has released an interesting comparison chart showing how well the most common instant messaging platforms compete on security.

The EFF analysis looked at these criteria:

  • Encrypted in transit
  • Encrypted so the provider can't read it
  • Can you verify contacts identity
  • Are past communication protected if keys are stolen 
  • Is the code open to independent review
  • Is security design properly documented
  • Has the code been audited
    Are

The highest rated tools (scoring 7 out of 7) were:

  • ChatSecure
  • CryptoCat
  • Signal/Redphone
  • Silent Phone
  • Silent Text
  • TextSecure

Not surprisingly, Apple's Facetime & iMessage (Messages) were ranked as the most secure mass market messaging tools. 

although neither currently provides complete protection against sophisticated, targeted forms of surveillance
— EFF

Google Hangouts, Facebook Messenger, Blackberry Messenger and Microsoft's Skype were dinged on several fronts including lack of protection of past communications and lack of detailed documentation about security.

EFF Press Release : Link

EFF Scorecard : Link

 

Blackberry 10 receives Microsoft OneDrive client

technologyEdward KiledjianComment
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I wrote a couple of weeks ago about Microsoft rebranding its SkyDrive cloud storage service to Microsoft OneDrive (link).

BkBlackberry has done a great job integrating cloud storage providers into its base os on BB10 devices. Out of the gate, BB10 supports Dropbox and Box. Now you can add Microsoft OneDrive support to that list with the availability of the Connect to Microsoft OneDrive app (link).

The functionality of this new add on is exactly the same  as that of Dropbox and Box. The deep integration means you can upload (automatically) device content to OneDrive. You can access files stored on OneDrive seamlessly on your device. 

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