Shameless fangirl praise for my new Z30

There it was, big, shiny and new, calling my name from the display shelf. I grabbed it, thinking it would probably only confirm my intended move to a Galaxy S4, but lo and behold, the exact opposite happened.

It’s been a couple of weeks now, and all of my previous concerns have evaporated: the browser is very fast, the battery life is incredible (2 days! I put it on Airplane mode at night, it must help) and, I never thought I’d say this, but I actually *prefer* the touch screen keyboard, thanks to the predictive typing feature that works seamlessly in both English and French, with no need to switch language settings. For this translator, this is unheard of, and a huge bonus.

Add that to the fact that, since Blackberry compresses data through its servers, my data usage stays well below the 1G allowed under my $60 Rogers plan, and you have a very happy customer.

Not only is it very functional as a work tool (I can reply to incoming messages from within any app, and edit MS Office documents on the go if needed), I can now get all the fun apps as well!

From a Jewish point of view, that has enriched my daily practice in a way I did not expect: for example, I have been using the super My Omer app (see link above) daily before bed, I can update my mikvah calendar anytime, anywhere, and have been listening to Hebrew lessons during my morning and evening commute (yup, I am a working mom again!)

That being said, it’s almost Shabbat, and I take my Shabbat seriously. So, even the amazing,  shiny new object of my wireless affection will get its 25 hours off.

Shabbat shalom everyone!


4 great free Jewish apps (Blackberry 10 compatible!)

Android apps can now be downloaded directly from the Google Play and the Amazon App Store onto Blackberry 10.2.1 devices. That’s not the main reason why I love my new Z30, but it certainly is a sweet bonus. Please note: I linked the apps to their Google Play location, but they are also available in iOS format; just do a search from your Apple device of choice.

First I installed the Amazon Store app, which was entirely painless.

Because not all apps I was interested in were available on the Amazon store, I side-loaded the Snap app so that I could browse the Google Play app store and download apps from it directly on my device. That took a little more finagling. I followed the steps here, but had to temporarily disable my antivirus and manually enter the IP address into the Google Chrome extension settings (both troubleshooting tips were suggested in the directions provided). Other than that, the whole operation was simple enough, and the app works phenomenally well.

  • Passover Assistant: I am not a Chabadnik, but I do give Chabad major kuddos for developping wonderful and practical tools. I wish I had discovered this one before Pesach, but two days into it, I still find it very useful. It helps plan the bedikat chametz, meals, create shopping lists and to-do lists, determining if something is Kosher for Passover, sing Mah Nishtana correctly, and determine the right time to light the candles. It also provides seder tips, through links to relevent pages. The app runs seamlessly on my Z30. Guess who is going to be much better organized this time next year? 😉
  • My mikvah calendar: Another wonderful tool for Jewish women on the go. It is basically a mobile version of Please note that it follows Chabad Lubavith calculations. If you prefer another way of counting clean and unclean days, there is also the App, which offers a choice of Ashkenaz, Sephardi and Chabad practices. However, this latter one costs $16 a year, whereas the one I use is free.
  • My Omer:  This cool little app provides the daily blessing, a summary of the message to reflect on each day as well as a daily exercise and a full set of related questions to give your soul muscles a sefirat omer work out. It basically follows the Spiritual Guide to Counting the Omer, by the Meaningful Life Center. Search the App on Snap (if you have a Blackberry 10 device) or on Google Play.
  • PocketTorah  and PocketTorah Trope: A really neat duo that teaches you how to chant the Haftorah, parshas (divided by aliyah), megilot, and the various tropes for different Holidays, etc. The PocketTorah Trope app works really well, audio and all. I am getting an “error 404” message in the PocketTorah app when I click on an aliyah, and I have a feeling that’s why I cannot seem to access the audio. The Hebrew text does display fine though (from right to left), as well as the trope signs, so at least I can access the text of the Torah portion while someone finds a fix.