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BlackBerry – Back With A Vengeance!

A dyed-in-the-wool BlackBerry user

As a diehard BlackBerry user, you might expect me to be annoyed over BlackBerry’s poor handling of the demise of the BB10 operating system running my BlackBerry Z30, arguably the best, most modern phone BlackBerry ever made. And for a while that was exactly how I felt (plus the let down by a great Canadian tech company.)

Time for a change

There are many operating systems to choose from like Apple iOS, Android, and Microsoft’s Windows Phone OS (shudder.) There are others like RIM’s BlackBerry OS (still available on a few devices) and Nokia’s Symbian but I elected to stay mainstream.

To determine which operating system would work best for me, I selected 2 phones, swapping an active Sim card between them: a Sony Xperia Z2 and an iPhone 4. The many features of these two phones along with their potential for upgrades – not to mention millions of apps – made me realized that the months of silence from BlackBerry was simply because the BB 10 operating system was too far behind to ever catch up.

With testing over, I was satisfied that Android and not iPhone was the way to go – and not because of the iPhone 4’s diminutive dimensions – I began the hunt for a big screen Android phone with a good camera (but not too many bells and whistles.) Water resistance was not an issue as I keep my phone in my pocket where it stays protected and dry – well, usually.

And then something happened…

After keeping an eye on the latest phones along with all their reviews, I decided that the LG V20 was the phone for me. I had buyer’s remorse even before I had bought the phone so by the time I finally got around to purchasing one, BlackBerry Mobile came out with the Android KEYone! Stop the presses! I was back at square one; starting my due diligence all over again. Damn you BlackBerry!

Oh, my! After a month of reading the myriad of positive reviews, I took the plunge. And now I can’t say enough about the KEYone: from the hard keyboard to the very cool, positively business like looks, this phone has it all.

Not for the movie and TV crowd

I use my phone primarily for talking, texting, emailing, tasks, calendar, contacts, and occasionally GPS and maps, but not too much else. Almost everything I do with my phone requires the keyboard.

The KEYone has a relatively small screen at just four and a half inches, which you might think is a bit undersized for a modern smartphone. But it’s not so small when you consider that this is a business phone designed as a tool, not a toy. Virtual keyboards can take up as much as a third of a phone’s screen when in use. Compare the available space on a phone with a five-inch or six-inch LCD – when the virtual keyboard is up and you’ll see that the KEYone’s readable screen is roughly the same size.

If you like to watch movies, videos, TV or YouTube then there are phones with larger screens to choose from.

The KEYone has lots of other good stuff


A fingerprint detector, keyboard (the Galaxy S8+ Keyboard Cover is a clip on) and Notification LED can be found on many modern devices so nothing new here. BlackBerry has made Hub, Password Keeper, and BBM available to Android users for some time now so these are not unique to the KEYone. The nice thing is that the KEYone comes with everything already set up and running – it’s a real BlackBerry.

Here is a short list of just some of the things that make the KEYone an excellent smartphone:

  • Hardware Keyboard – You just have to try it for yourself, it’s that good! Here are some keyboard shortcuts from CrackBerry;
  • Android 7.1 Operating System – Loads of apps to personalize your KEYone and make it even better;
  • BlackBerry Hub – An indispensable tool for any professional. All your email accounts, text messages, phone call logs, plus social media accounts like Twitter and Pinterest;
  • Fingerprint Detector – It’s built into the space bar and can be used anywhere a password is required. Very useful and very quick;
  • Password Keeper – All your passwords in one place. Just use your fingerprint to open it;
  • BlackBerry Messenger – BlackBerry’s very secure and private text message app;
  • Front Facing Multi-Coloured (RGB) Notification LED – A flashing LED indicator for email or text or some other notification that is waiting for you – simple and handy. Here’s a CrackBerry review from early 2017: “Relax, the BlackBerry KEYone does have an RGB LED indicator
  • Soft Finish Back – Comfortable to hold and doesn’t slide around too much when on its back; vibrating unattended;
  • Camera – The KEYone has an excellent Sony 12-megapixel camera, here are a couple of KEYone camera reviews Recombu and Trusted Reviews
  • Battery – This CrackBerry review covers the long lasting 3505mAh battery in some depth: “BlackBerry KEYone owners are loving the long battery life!”


KEYone, a great smartphone that deserves to be called a “BlackBerry


Please leave a comment and thank you for taking the time to read this post.


Happy Canada Day!

Happy Canada Day!

Don’t Throw Out That Old Cell Phone – Yet!

Clive Richey, Realtor

Just got a new cell phone and not sure what to do with the old Old one?

Smart Phone BlackBerry Z30

You’re not alone. As a result of this dilemma I’ve been keeping a number of old cell phones in my “Museum” including flip phones, early Motorolas with nice leather covers, an old brick phone (a real monster by today’s standards) even an original BlackBerry, the one with the wheel on the side (you remember, the one that made BlackBerry famous). These all reside on a shelf in my office – collecting dust – along with a few Kodak Brownie cameras and a smattering of ancient transistor radios.

But these are really old cell phones and mostly analog they don’t even work on today’s modern digital networks. So unless you’re very (very) techy or have a museum of your own, you might just as well recycle or donate your old cell phones.

On the other…

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8 Tips To Help You Survive A Home Inspection

As a rookie in the early 1980s the thought of engaging the services of a home inspector made my blood run cold – nothing could kill a deal faster than a home inspector!

How times have changed! Today a home inspection is a complex undertaking performed by skilled technicians with years of training, specialized education, certification and hands-on experience. The modern home inspector is a professional capable of determining the condition of a home and delivering a precise and detailed report. Quality Home Inspectors Ltd. wrote “… you need to know your inspector is an experienced professional, able to deliver his findings to you in an honest, straight-forward manner and that’s he’s working for you, and no one else.”

Sandra Rinomato writing for HGTV says “A professional home inspector reviews the operating systems and structure of a home of any age—even new homes—and leaves a written report for the client to keep as a reference guide

If you’re a first time buyer then chances are you haven’t been involved in a home inspection before and you should know that the following is by no means a comprehensive list and should be used as a guide only. So here are some tips and ideas to help you through a Home Inspection:

  1. Multiple Quotes – Always get quotes from more than one inspection company:
    • Ask how much will it cost and whether or not that quote represents the final invoice and that there are no hidden charges for reports or emails,
    • Check what you get for the cost and compare the value with others you get quotes from,
    • Ask to see samples of previous inspection reports and check to see that they are detailed while still being easy to understand,
    • Ask for recommendations from previous clients – a good company will be happy to oblige you and will most likely have a number of happy clients willing to vouch for them;
    • The company’s website should have a professional appearance with useful data and links and contact information.
  2. Certification And Insurance – Most regions require some sort of certification or licensing so be sure that the inspection company is certified in the area the home is located and ensure they have a valid business license:
    • Be certain that the inspection company and the inspector are fully insured,
    • What does the insurance cover? Error, omissions, negligence, et cetera,
    • Ask to see and read all pertinent certificates.
  3. Inspector’s Credentials – Check the inspector’s credentials for diplomas, certificates and experience:
    • A carpenter or electrician or plumber or a background in construction is useful but not essential,
    • How long has the inspector been certified or licensed? You’re looking for experience so a rookie might not be your best choice,
    • What is his or her background and how does it apply to home inspection? Prior work requiring some form of mechanical aptitude would be an asset,
    • Has the inspector successfully completed extra courses like Radon Detection? Look for things that apply to your situation and if you’re not sure, ask.
  4. I’ve Got this Friend – Do not have your friend perform your home inspection! I can’t stress this point enough. Your friend may have the best of intentions and be a very good carpenter or plumber or roofer but a home inspector he is not. There are far too many subjects that your friend will not be proficient at. More likely than not, your well meaning friend will miss some defect or other hidden damage that could prove very costly you.
  5. Ask Questions – prepare a list of questions before hand and don’t be afraid to ask them – no matter how stupid you may think they are;
    • If you see something, anything that isn’t exactly how you think it should be then ask for an explanation;
    • Ask about the driveway, the sidewalks around the house or anything else that may affect the value of the property. Remember, this inspection may shed some light on a defect that has repercussions on possible renegotiation of the purchase price.
  6. Move Stuff (Really Important) – Don’t suppose the inspector will move furniture and other objects in order to check the condition of walls or carpets or the electrical outlets fixed behind them. Some might move furniture and some might not so bring a helper along who is willing to move some heavy stuff like dressers and so forth (be sure to have this cleared with the Seller beforehand). You never know what secrets you might find.
  7. Specialized Inspection – Your home inspector is probably a good generalist but unlikely to be a specialist in more than one or two fields. Don’t limit your inspection, get creative, look around, make notes and ask yourself:
    • Is the owner aware of any possible issues – most owners will already have disclosed this in one form or another but ask anyway,
    • Does the listing agent know anything that is not on the disclosure statement?
    • What other things concerning the condition of this house should I be aware of?
    • Here is a short list of some specialized inspections that you might need:
      • Septic tank and field – this is a specialized field of expertise,
      • Roof, gutters and perimeter drain,
      • Furnace, AC and hot water tank/system – and don’t forget to ask for recent utility bills,
      • Well – check the flow rate in gallons per minute and whether or not a water softener is required,
      • Vermin – mice or Insect Infestation like termites, cockroaches, bedbugs or ants,
      • Hot tub and swimming pool – equipment, filters, plumbing, liner and deck, and annual maintenance costs,
      • Toxic material like asbestos, Urea Formaldehyde Foam Insulation and Radon.
  8. Consult Your Realtor® – Last but by no means least is to “ask your Realtor”. In most cases your Realtor works for you, the Buyer not the Seller and is usually obliged to share information about the home with you. Simple. Your Realtor deals with inspectors all the time and should be able to give you some guidance. In today’s market seldom are residential properties sold without a home inspection. As a Realtor® attending the home inspection and staying for the duration is neither trivial nor boring and it’s always good to have another pair of eyes on the job.

Make the home inspection one of the subject clauses in your contract to purchase the home. An inspection will cost hundreds of dollars so you don’t want to be spending that kind of money on a house you may never own. It should also be one of the last clauses to be removed as it will most likely cost more than most of the other clauses in your contract such as financing and reviewing the Property Disclosure Statement. Typically the Home Inspection clause is the only clause requiring a substantial cash outlay – usually in the $300 to $500 range.

One final note: Add your Home Inspection Report to your new home’s manual. The next buyers of your home will appreciate the added value.

Don’t Throw Out That Old Cell Phone – Yet!

Just got a new cell phone and not sure what to do with the old Old one?

Smart Phone

BlackBerry Z30

You’re not alone. As a result of this dilemma I’ve been keeping a number of old cell phones in my “Museum” including flip phones, early Motorolas with nice leather covers, an old brick phone (a real monster by today’s standards) even an original BlackBerry, the one with the wheel on the side (you remember, the one that made BlackBerry famous). These all reside on a shelf in my office – collecting dust – along with a few Kodak Brownie cameras and a smattering of ancient transistor radios.

But these are really old cell phones and mostly analog they don’t even work on today’s modern digital networks. So unless you’re very (very) techy or have a museum of your own, you might just as well recycle or donate your old cell phones.

On the other hand, if your most recent “old” cell phone is a smart phone or even a super phone then you’re in luck!

So what can be done with these oldies?

For starters, your old smart phone is more or less a “WiPhone” which describes it for what it really is; a WIFI enabled phone. Your WiPhone is a valuable asset and should be cherished not discarded.

Except for 911 calls (see below), the only thing on your WiPhone that won’t work, of course, is the cellular network – any feature, service or app that doesn’t rely on that network will most likely function properly. Things like WIFI (hence the name WiPhone), Camera, Calendar, Games, Tasks, Web Browser, Clock, et cetera will all function as before. Don’t forget, your WiPhone is not just an old cell phone it’s a palm sized PC. Almost anything your desktop or laptop or new cell phone can do your WiPhone can do. Even download new apps.

Things you can do with your WiPhone:

The possibilities are endless but here are just a few ideas to get you started:

    • Wi-Fi phone using Google Voice or Skype. Yep, it can still be a phone. Here is a post by Simon Hill from covering Android phones;
    • TV remote. There are some very cool apps for turning your phone into a TV remote. Check out this GIZMODO post by Andrew Tarantola;
    • Camera. A second phone camera gives you extra picture storage and the added advantage of a second, charged camera. Remember to download the picture off your old phone as soon as possible to free up space on the media card. Here’s more on this topic by Annabelle Smyth
    • Backup Device. This is easy, just sync your old phone with your new phone every day. Job done. You’ll never again lose more than a day’s worth of data.
    • Music. Load your favourite songs on to your WiPhone, voila, no more scrambling to switch apps when your cell phone rings.

Here’s some more ideas: nice article by Adam Dachis on LifeHacker

And another good idea, this one from Trent Hamm’s blog: “Use it as a 911 phone. Charge it up, turn it off, and stick the phone (along with the old charger) in your glove box. Then, if you’re ever in an accident or other emergency, you can pull the phone from your glove box, flip it on, and use it to dial 911. This will work because all cell phones are required to allow you to dial 911, even without an active service plan to the phone.

You could also keep it at the cabin or your boat or anywhere else an emergency phone could come in handy. You must check with your cellular network provider before relying on the 911 without an active service.

One more thing, as a professional, using your WiPhone frees up your cell phone for business – and that can only be a good thing!

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Do you have ideas on WiPhone uses? I would love to hear about them. Please add a Comment or email me at And thank you for reading this post.

Will 2015 Be Better Or Worse For Real Estate?

My Utah Home Expert


Whether you’re looking to sell your home or spent the last year waffling between renting or buying, you probably have one question as we head into the new year: Will 2015 be better — or are we headed into another year of the same?

There’s no such thing as a real estate crystal ball, and anyone who claims to have all the answers probably has a hidden agenda. With many factors to consider, let’s take a closer look.

The recovery process — where are we?

Trulia’s Chief Economist Jed Kolko recently came to the conclusion that while none of the five measurements in Trulia’s TRLA -1.84% Housing Barometer are completely back to normal, most are making progress. It’s been three years since prices bottomed out in 2011, and we are still very much in recovery mode with rebound effects slowing; housing prices are no longer significantly undervalued and the investor…

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Why a handwritten note is my secret weapon | Inman News

Handwritten Note

Why a handwritten note is my secret weapon | Inman News.