Microsoft Outlook ActiveSync 14.0 and your cell phone

When you connect your cell phone to email service, do you ever wonder what sort of information Microsoft has on your cell phone? You can actually check and see, by going to your OPTIONS > MOBILE DEVICES under your account. You should get a screen similar to the one below:


Mobile Devices

Now before we go any further. I do have 4 devices hooked up, 2 are cell phones, and other 2 are applications (located on the tablet+desktop). Let’s concentrate on the 2 cell phones. I have a BlackBerry and an iPhone. Let’s see what they have logged on those two devices.

You might already be surprised that BlackBerry actually reveals your full phone number to Microsoft. Online they only show last 4 digits, but believe me…Microsoft has your full phone number, whether you like it or not. iPhone surprisingly does not gives your number out to Microsoft. 1-0 for iPhone.

I have selected BlackBerry (highlighted) and all you we need to do is click on the little pencil to see additional information. Let’s see what information they have on the BlackBerry:

BlackBerry Details

I have removed last 4 digits of my phone number, Device ID and Device IMEI. Microsoft had the entire identity of my phone. EVERYTHING!. If you are keeping count, that’s iPhone 4 and BlackBerry 0.

Let’s look at the iPhone:

iPhone Mobile Device Details

iPhone did not reveal everything, as a matter of fact they have shown limited information. The only thing I had removed is Device ID. I probably could have left it, as I don’t see that same ID listed anywhere on the box or on the device. Final Score: iPhone 4 and BlackBerry 1.

Is BlackBerry truly a privacy oriented company? From what we had observed here, no they are not. As a matter of fact they didn’t keep anything private from Microsoft (Outlook client).

Thanks for reading.

Rogers SureTap Wallet Review

Paying by tapping your phone instead of your credit card seems like a great idea. The technology has been around ever since NFC came out, and there are a few banks that have applications that are capable with it. Now Rogers is getting into the banking game. Since they are a telecom the process should be easy? Right? What’s required:

1) NFC capable phone
2) NFC Sim card
3) Application that will tie all this together
4) A card that’s compatible with the application

Lots of requirements are required, not to mention there are some phones that are NFC capable however are not included with the application which automatically excludes the user. At the time of writing these are the handsets that are compatible with the Rogers SureTap Wallet App:

Samsung GALAXY Alpha™
Samsung GALAXY Note 4™
Samsung GALAXY Note 3™
Samsung GALAXY Note II™
Samsung GALAXY S4™
Samsung GALAXY S5™
HTC One™
HTC One (M8)
LG G Flex
LG Optimus G
BlackBerry® Z10
Sony Xperia® Z3
BlackBerry® Z3
Samsung Core LTE
BlackBerry® Z30
BlackBerry® Q10

I went to the Rogers store and picked up a NFC sim card listed at $9.99+tax at the time of purchase. Rogers (over the phone) was offering free NFC sim cards, however I wanted a NANO sim card and I had a feeling because I was testing it with Z10 that Rogers would mail me Micro sim card instead.

Swapping current nano sim card to NFC nano card was fairly easy on My Account. The change was instant, took less than 2-3 minutes to do.

Next was to download the application. Since I was using a BlackBerry Z10 I went to the BlackBerry World app and download Rogers SureTap Wallet. I registered and apparently during the registration process there is additional information that is burned on the NFC sim card. The process was easy and I had my Rogers SureTap Wallet successfully installed. The security involved is a 4 pin password requirement along with two security questions.

Now to add a card, at the time of posting Rogers was offering their branded Rogers MasterCard with additional credit included. I added the card and this process did take a bit for the card to be downloaded (approximately 2 hours). Once that was done I was set. Time to test.

Here’s the list of merchants that is successfully worked:

  • Metro
  • McDondals
  • Tim Horton’s
  • Pizza Pizza
  • Harveys
  • LCBO

The list of merchants that did not accept suretap (seem to accept only swipe or chip insertion):

  • Target
  • Walmart
  • Wendy’s

How to get SureTap to work:

When the merchant tells you the total, and asks you how you are paying. Simply say Master Card. The merchant will usually tell you “go ahead when ready”. On your phone click on the SureTap Wallet app, type in your 4 digit password, click on your Rogers MasterCard and click on Pay Now. Place your handset over the terminal (rest it on top of it if you can). Wait for the “beep”, and leave it for additional 2-3 seconds. That is. The coin term “TAP”, does not work. I find it that the transaction would initiate, however time-out after the beep.

Please note that I had the application pre-loaded each time with my 4 digit code entered, the only step left was to click on Pay Now. I found that on Z10 it took a while to do it from scratch, and one of the merchants cash register actually timed out while I was trying to load the application. For full proof use, load it ahead of time while the merchant is scanning the merchandize.


The most common scenario is that people will end up switching phones, or wipe the phone clean (format it). What happens to the SureTap Wallet then? Also what if I wanted to run SureTap from a backup, was it possible? Here we go.

First test was, I backed up my Z10. I grabbed my BlackBerry Passport and tried to restore SureTap Wallet to it. Keep in mind that Passport is not on the accepted list of phones. The restore was successful, however the application would get stuck on the splash screen. SureTap wins this one.

Next, I wiped the Z10 clean and performed a restore of just the SureTap Wallet application. When I loaded the application I received strange errors, that the proper sim card wasn’t inserted, etc. SureTap wins this round as well.

Next, I wiped the Z10 one more time, and freshly installed SureTap Wallet application. It asked me for my 4 digit password. I entered it, and all of a sudden it presented me with the 1st security question (please note that you are only asked the 4 digit code when you setup) that I created a month ago. The odd part was that I actually forgot. Not to mention that the responses were case sensitive. I got my first response wrong, and then I was presented with a second security question. Needless to say, I typed that one wrong as well.  The application locked me out. SureTap wins. I was asked to call Rogers for them to unlock the application.

I phoned Rogers, and the rep unlocked it. A temporary 4 digit password was sent. However, here’s the kicker, when I entered the 4 digit temporary password, it said that the code was wrong. I typed in my own 4 digit and it accepted. Strange. First flaw in the SureTap system. What would happen if I forgot my 4 digit password?

Next, I had to guess if my 2 security words were case sensitive or not. I got the first security question wrong, the second one “I think” I got right, however I got stuck on verification for good 20 minutes. The verification eventually timed out and booted me back to my 4 digit password. After I typed in my 4 digit password, I managed to guess my first security word. The security verification passed and it went to this screen that I haven’t seen as of yet:

Updating Rogers Suretap Wallet

However, after about 5-10 seconds I receive the screen below(tested with LTE, 3G, EDGE and WIFI)

Rogers Suretap Wallet Try Again

After you click on “Try Again”, it takes you back to your 4 digit password. The process and the cycle are in the never ending loop. I tried reinstalled the application, reloading the operating system. Nothing worked.

I reached out on twitter to @RogersHelps (Really helpful staff at Rogers). The rep refreshed my account, and tried a few things out, however nothing really changed. The issue was escalated and it could take 10 days to fix.

Final Words (Review):

Rogers Suretap Wallet seems to work, I do find it slow on my Z10 (hence I had to have it pre-loaded while the cashier scans the product). I found it NOT to be a TAP solution, more like HOLD and WAIT to pay.

Word of warning, there doesn’t seem to be any contingency plan if you forget your 4 digit number. The temporary 4 digit number that was sent via text by Rogers never worked. And according to the SureTap Rogers rep the two security words if you forget them completely it is a pain to recover. I personally think that you are SOL if you forget the two security words. Kiss your wallet goodbye.

I’m curious how they will fix my problem, I have the 4 digit password and the security words. It seems to me that there might be a additional layer of security that has blacklisted my sim card or my IMEI. Unfortunately, I don’t have another approved device to try and test if the situation would change with a different IMEI.

I have to wait 10 days for them to fix the issue. When you think about it, 10 days is unacceptable, especially when money/paying is involved. I will keep you updated if my Wallet gets sorted.

UPDATE (January 14, 2015): Nothing from Rogers yet. However, I did mess around with the application a bit more. My intention was to lock myself out on purpose and give Rogers a call. I inputted wrong responses and got locked out. But I was able to get back into the application each time. Please note that the original lock-out, I was not able to get back into the application. This time around, I can get back into it each time. I didn’t want to mess with my 4 digit number though, that might be next if Rogers doesn’t solve this issue.

UPDATE (January 22, 2015): I called Rogers SureTap Wallet 1-855-640-7914 phone number. The rep I got told me that they no longer have access to accounts as of Monday. And that the back office team is working on the issues. My ticket has also not been viewed yet. Therefore, who knows how long until I see my SureTap Wallet again.

Please do note that I did try to access SureTap Wallet and the connection kept timing out. I got a new JAVA error which I’ll post later.

UPDATED (March 2, 2016): Rogers has officially decided to pull the plug with SureTap as of April 30, 2016. If you have funds, try to spend them or request a refund:

It was a very promising project that failed at launch. Too many different handsets, and every handset had some sort of an “App” issue. Its a shame. RIP Rogers SureTap

Blackberry Passport Outright Pricing

I buy all my devices outright. I try not to fall into the contract trap offered by local telecoms here in Canada. I was actually shocked at BlackBerry Passport outright pricing. In Canada on the website it was selling for $699. For some strange reason on the U.S. portion of the website it was discounted -$100.00, dropping it down to US$599.00. Still a bit steep.

Of course the US/Canada pricing difference didn’t make sense either, I do realize is owned by a third party, although is considered the official store for BlackBerry. Regardless, who in their right mind would pay $699.00 for a device that hasn’t really proven itself? I’m a BlackBerry fan and do want them to succeed, but whoever is pricing their devices is out of their mind and should be fired. Due to the pricing scheme this device will simply fail.

I don’t own any Google devices, but to me Google has the best pricing scheme next to Amazon. For example their Nexus 5 outright price is CA$349.00. That’s competitive, and if I was in a need of a phone, and if my current phone died, I’d more then likely purchase a Nexus 5. Amazon is in the same boat, their tablet pricing is superb.

With more and more people wanting to be “off-contract” with their carriers in Canada, BlackBerry simply missed the boat. I would have been all over this device if it was listed for $399.00 or heck even $499.00. However, anything above $500.00 is just asking for catastrophic fail.

Even if I was insane enough to go on a 2 year contract the asking price was $249.00. You mean, I have to get into a contract and I still end up paying $249.00? I’m better of getting an iPhone 6 on a two year contract and possibly profiting in the end. Very disappointing BlackBerry.

I’ll end up checking BlackBerry Passport when the hype is over and the device ends up in the $300 outright range. Until then…..

UPDATE: BestBuy (U.S.) has already dropped the 2 year contract price to $199. I expect the Passport to be $0 on two year contract by Christmas.

BlackBerry Z10 Band Switching LTE to 4G to EDGE

I have been testing band switching (network mode)  on the BlackBerry Z10. As many of you are aware Z10 battery life is the one feature that is a nuisance.

To circumvent that issue, I thought if I switched from LTE  to 4G that it would somewhat improve battery life. Well it got even worse. Battery life lasted only about 6 hours. Whats up with that?

My next test involved switching network mode from 4G to EDGE. Traditionally BlackBerry phones that ran on EDGE could last for days with heavy usage. Unfortunately, that was not the case with the Z10. It average about the same battery life on EDGE as it did on 4G (moderate use).

Surprisingly LTE averaged the highest battery life on moderate usage at around 9 hours.

In conclusion, hopefully I have LTE coverage wherever I go, or I’ll need a secondary battery in my pocket.

Blackberry Passport

I haven’t had the opportunity to see Blackberry Passport in person, but according to the specifications, it is absolutely an exciting form factor. The code name for Passport was/is “Windermere” and its supposedly thinner then any current BB10 models (including Q10). The most notable difference is the actual physical keyboard that doubles up as a touchpad.

The touchpad capability is interesting. Predictive text you are actually able to swipe up and select the proper word, just as you would on the current BB10 models via on-screen keyboard. Swiping, gestures and highlighting works the same way.

The form factor actual size has not been confirmed, however some specifications have been confirmed: 1440 x 1440 pixels, 4.5 inches (~453 ppi pixel density) screen, 3GB RAM, and 32GB internal space.

There have been a couple of videos that have surfaced demonstrating Blackberry Passport, however the posters never confirmed much of the information about the actual hardware. Their test run seem to demo the software portion only.

Blackberry assistant surfaced for the first time on the device (can be compared to Siri). I’m unsure if it will be included for those who have a BB10 device or will be exclusive for Passport users and future next generation BB10 devices.

For the first time in a long time I’m actually excited about a BB device.

Release is expected to be in October of 2014.

If you want to be notified for pre-orders in regards to BlackBerry Passport, you can register here.

VIDEO demo of BB Passport

BlackBerry Z10 Review (sort of)

You will find internet flooded with BlackBerry Z10 reviews. Z10 has been around now for well over a year (Release: Jan 2013). But I thought I would give you a perspective from a dedicated iPhone user. A pure 5 month full time trial of Z10.

I took the sim card from my iPhone 5 (painful). I inserted into a fresh BlackBerry Z10. I must admit the boot-up time took forever. However, once the Z10 was up and running, everything worked the way I wanted it to. Email which BlackBerry has been known for, took seconds to setup. For 5 months straight I used the BlackBerry Z10 and it hasn’t let me down.

What do I miss (if comparing it to iPhone 5). There has to be something right? Or was I completely converted to BlackBerry (again).

OK here are the negative things about BlackBerry Z10:

  • Battery Life (lucky if I make it to dinner)
  • One hand typing (I found iPhone easier)
  • Editing (I found iPhone easier to edit text on)

OK now top positive things about BlackBerry Z10:

  • Two hand typing (is superb, almost as good as physical keyboard)
  • Voice clarity (crisp)
  • Calendar/Hub (productivity was better on Z10)

Now the big question. Will I be staying on BlackBerry? I’m very tempted to get another BlackBerry smartphone, the one I’m truly interested is the Passport. However, I also want to explore Android (again) especially the LG G3. Then there is iPhone especially with the upcoming iPhone 6 release. Needless to say, the consumer has a lot of options which is great.

In conclusion: I know this wasn’t the most in-depth review, however it wasn’t meant to be. It was a little study I did for myself to see if I could actually switch from iPhone and stick to it. And yes it worked and no I don’t have any complaints about it nor do I miss my iPhone 5.

BlackBerry buys German based anti-eavesdropping company

BlackBerry is continuing their transition with the new CEO John Chen. Secusmart which was the security firm who customized smartphones for German agencies and various government officials (including Chancellor Angela Merkel).

This is a significant acquisition since a regular consumer is become more aware and concerned about Smartphone security. BlackBerry who was once the leader of mobile security has been overlooked by mobile giants such as Apple and Samsung. However, if you were to ask mobile security experts, they will tell you that BlackBerry is still the most secure Smartphone in the industry today. This acquisition placed a large stamp on BlackBerry continuing their conquest in containing their number one attribute which is security.

Will this move be significant enough for the regular Smartphone user to switch over to BlackBerry? Not likely, however this opens the door for BlackBerry to cater and continue solid operations for large corporation, government and businesses.


Converting Android app to BB10 (via Eclipse)

I have to be honest. Not many clients are requesting these days to have their app uploaded to the Blackberry World store. But once in a while I’ll get a client with the request of having their app in all the stores which includes Blackberry World.

Obviously the best way is to write and optimize the application in the native format. However, what if you wanted to just convert an application that you just completed for Android without re-writing the entire thing all over again.

I have to admit it was very difficult when I did this a year ago, but as of recent its becoming easier and easier. I’m unsure if Blackberry has made it easier, or I have gotten used to the process.

Some things you need before you begin:

1. Blackberry Vendor Account

2. Eclipse

3. App you created for Android

4. Blackberry signing keys (must have #1 completed)

5. Blackberry Eclipse Plugin

In regards to #5, follow directions on how to install it within Eclipse.

After you have set-up and you have done all of the above, the process is pretty straightforward unless you have many Google Services installed. You have to get rid of those before the application is properly verified by the Blackberry APK Verifier.


– When you are uploading your BAR file to the Blackberry World, make sure you have proper screenshots (either from Simulator or the actual device) as they seem to be rejecting apps that don’t have proper screenshots.

– Don’t bother including Playbook as part of the accepted applications for your App. I’ve noticed that when you do include playbook, the blackberry employee by default will use Playbook to test your app, and for some reason it always fails. I personally don’t have a Playbook to test, nor do I want to optimize it for the limited market that’s Playbook. Stick to official BB10 devices such as Z10, Z30 and Q10. I have tested on the BB10 devices and the conversion works flawlessly.

Happy submitting to the Blackberry World store

Blackberry Messenger BBM Released

At first I thought it was a joke. But here are the direct links for both Android and Apple, its official Blackberry Messenger BBM is released.



Update #1: I have fully enjoyed having BBM on my iPhone. I truly don’t have any complaints and I think Blackberry did a terrific job creating the App on the iOS platform. I haven’t had the chance to try the Android version as of yet, therefore I can’t comment. For me the only feature that its missing is swapping between devices (sorta how iMessage has it setup). Lets say I have an Android Tablet and iPhone. If I have BBM installed on both devices, it would be great if I was able to use both simultaneously. Currently, if you log in one device, it logs you out of the other one.

Many of the other complaints I have been hearing that are lacking are video sharing, video chat, etc. I’m sure those will be added to the future upgrades, however, the App the way it is currently is fantastic.