Tuesday, October 21, 2014

In Search for Best ActiveSync Exchange Client for Android

Note: Last update Jan 27, 2015 - all apps are still being tested - not complete - also the apps keep updating!
Ever since I moved away from Blackberry, I've been feeling a void in my heart whenever I reply to work emails off office hours on my phone. I'm not gonna lie, Android just doesn't cut it when it comes to work emails. It's fantastic for everything else, but it pales in comparison against BES - and we're not just talking keyboard availability - things like being able to online search the exchange server for emails not sync'ed to your phone, send/accept/decline/propose new dates on meeting invites, and best of all, turn on and off Out of Office. Of course, BB mail isn't without its downsides - I like the idea of enabling HTML in emails, but it just wasn't designed to do this, but it was something I liked.

The native email client on the Samsung S5 is not very good at all so I've been searching for better ones. Unfortunately, I haven't seen any blogs that spell out the pros and cons of Exchange Email Clients using Activesync. Thus I have to test them out myself and see what's the best.

Here are are the things I look for in an Exchange Email Client
  • Syncs Email up to a month
  • Syncs Contacts and searches contacts online and finds exchange when composing email
  • Syncs Calendar [I use an application call Business Calendar instead of S Planner]
  • Ability to Accept/Decline a meeting invitation
  • Signature (rich formatting preferable)
  • Rich formatting when composing Email
  • Grouping by conversation 
  • Custom notification
  • Online Search Server for unsynced emails
  • Out of Office feature
  • Widget Interface
  • Overall usability 
My review on the Android Exchange ActiveSync clients below.


I'm currently having issues with Push notification (not being pushed)!  Nine Support is telling me that Push is not being enabled but it is working for my other email clients -.-;;

  • Syncs Email up to a month (up to all your un-archived Email)
  • Syncs Contacts and finds exchange when composing email
  • Syncs Calendar 
  • Ability to Accept/Decline a meeting invitation
  • Signature with rich formatting 
    • only bold, underline, italic 
  • Rich formatting when composing Email
    • only bold, underline, italic
  • Grouping by conversation: 
    • great interface
    • in speech bubble for emails that are synced
  • Widget Interface
    • can select specific account and folder to view during set up of widget
    • can click on top and app opens up
    • can compose email
  • Overall usability:
    • when composing email, you can:
      • set priority
      • include signature
      • edit edit
      • tracking (delivery/read receipt)
      • include quoted text
      • undo/redo button
      • reply inline (edit quoted text)
  • Swift and responsive customer support
  • Out of office is only for Exchange Server 2003
  • Online search for unsynced email only on Exchange Server 2007+
  • Rich Formatting:
    • No bullets or colours
  • Grouping by conversation
    • only emails that are synced
  • Widget Interface
    • can choose account and folder only when setting up, can't edit later 
    • would need to delete and reset up to change folder viewing
    • cannot edit size of viewable font
  • No custom notification
  • Cost $10-$20 (it's on sale for half price atm)
Other Notes
  • Does not sync gmail, yahoo, but that doesn't bother me


  • Syncs E-mail up to a month (up to all your un-archived emails)
  • Syncs Contacts and finds exchange when composing email
  • Syncs Calendar
  • Ability to Accept/Decline a meeting invitation (pretty good)
  • Signature but no rich text
  • Grouping by conversation
    • will show in list and you can click to go to original individual email (finnicky)
    • will show older emails that's not synced in conversation list but cannot reply to the emails
  • Custom notification
    • can choose ringtone and vibration
    • can set night time silence
  • Widget Interface
    • can choose account and folder to view during set up of widget
    • can compose email
    • click on top and app opens up
    • number to show unread emails
  • Overall usability 
    • Easy to reply, reply all and forward
    • additional search filters: all, to, from, subject, body
  • No out of office
  • No Online Search Server for unsynced emails
  • No rich text for body or signature
  • Cannot edit inline (cannot edit quoted text)
  • Widget Interface
    • can choose account and folder only when setting up, can't edit later 
    • would need to delete and reset up to change folder viewing
    • cannot edit size of viewable font
  • Grouping by conversation is finnicky
    • sometimes you can't reply to an older email in a conversation
    • workaround: search for the email
  • Delete button on the top deletes entire conversations, not just single email
    • you can delete single emails by going to the original email but if all the older emails are in conversation you can only delete original conversation. 
    • I would avoid deleting altogether in these cases where you're not sure the whole conversation is going to get deleted
  • Ads


No Calendar sync so not an option.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The Justification of Travelling

I'm really tired of reading posts and shares on my Facebook page exalting travelling, talking about  why it's important to travel and how great it is.

Maybe it's because I've already had my fill of travelling and I have the opportunity to travel that I think this way, but maybe it's because I find none of these posts understand how lucky people are to be able to travel.

Travelling is a Luxury.

Travelling is a Consumption.

Travelling is ALMOST ALWAYS Selfish
(unless you are a humanitarian doing work to help others)

I am not arguing that learning about different culture and adding to your life experience is a problem. But you can learn about cultures and add to your experience without travelling, just as you can travel and not learn about culture nor add value to your life experience beyond, "been there done that." 
What I really find problematic are the ways people travel, the reasoning behind people's travels and, most importantly, what I hate the most, is what people are adding to the propaganda of travelling.
No one can define for an individual how they should travel or how much they should travel. So before you start quitting your job or spend all your money so you can backpack across the world to learn about yourself, please consider the following:
  1. How are you going to travel? via an airplane or a boat or a car? Because everything I just named means carbon footprints.
  2. What are you giving back to society and what are you taking away from the society when you travel?
  3. Who is benefitting from the travels? What is being lost?
  4. What are your goals when you travel? Do you NEED to travel in order to achieve your goals? Did you actually achieve your goal after you travelled?

North Americans have this ridiculous notion of travelling: the more you travel the better you are as a person.
The reality? You can learn anywhere. You can widen your perspective through doing anything. If you are willing.

Again, I'm not saying don't travel. I'm not trying to be a hypocrite. I travel a lot and I'm extremely grateful for my ability to do this. I love travelling (most people do) but I understand that it's a consumption slightly better than buying expensive purses.  You don't HAVE TO travel.

Travel, if you want.

But don't go around telling people that it's more than what it really is: a vain and luxurious entertainment. There's no justification for consumption beyond personal gain.

Friday, July 11, 2014

In Pursuit of Un-Unhappiness

In a world where a person is not oppressed and abused by another power, where food, water, shelter are abundant, and quality of life is superb, why are there still unhappy people? Where does unhappiness stem from?

I have been thinking about this question a lot lately. Ironically it is not because I am unhappy; it is actually because I have currently found peace in my life. Beyond the mundane first world problems that I like to incessantly broadcast to my boyfriend and my best friends, I am beyond grateful for what I have and where I am in life, both physically and abstractly. But this is not a show-off post wherein I describe my insignificant personal achievements to make myself feel better about myself, because people who are happy and at peace don't need to be validated by others. What is this post about? I'm not sure yet, but I feel like I have something to say.

I have learned that happiness and unhappiness are not mutually exclusive. Either can be an emotion or a state of being. You can be in a state of unhappiness but feel momentarily happy about something (I am deeply unhappy with the way my life is, but I just bought a new car). Or you can be in a state of happiness but feel unhappy temporarily about something (I love everything about my life but oops I just crashed my new car).  

So yes, you can be happy and unhappy at the same time, but only if one is a state (I am, deep inside, always) and the other is an emotion (I feel, right now, and maybe for a little while longer).

But it is much easier to detect and understand your emotions, and harder to pinpoint your state.
Therefore it is easy to change your emotions, but it is difficult to change a state of being.

In the spectrum of the most unhappy state to the most happy state, most of us probably sit somewhere in between. And a lot of us have no idea where exactly we sit, especially when many people mistaken their emotion to be a state (I just bought a new car and a new house, I must be happy). On top of which, what makes up happiness for each individual is different and no one can actually tell you what will make you happy. So how does one know if you are happy or not happy, and if you don't know, do you need to bother to pursuit happiness?

Whoa - now things sound way more complex than it needs to be. Defining happiness is near impossible for most of us. We can list a million things that makes us happy, and if we did achieve those things, would we truly be happy? This self-awareness thing is way too complicated.

The way I see it, is that we gotta take baby steps.  The pursuit of happiness is too hard - who really knows what can make you happy?  But the pursuit of ensuring you are not unhappy or the pursuit of un-unhappiness: much easier. I am not talking sitting around refusing things that I think makes me feel unhappy (eating a celery stick, having conversations with French people), but I'm talking about taking action to change things. I did say it was a pursuit, did I not?

I don't know what makes me happy. But I will do things to change my unhappiness. And you know what, the more I think about it, the easier it seems to pinpoint the root of unhappiness stems from:
  • Cowardice: fear and excess self-concern override doing or saying what is right, good
  • Greed: desire to possess wealth, goods, or objects of abstract value with the intention to keep it for one's self, far beyond the dictates of basic survival and comfort. It is applied to a markedly high desire for and pursuit of wealth, status, and power.
  • Denial: when faced with a fact that is too uncomfortable to accept and rejects it instead, insisting that it is not true despite what may be overwhelming evidence
  • Laziness: disinclination to activity or exertion (making changes) despite having the ability to do so
  • Intolerance: unwillingness or refusal to consider, tolerate or respect contrary or different opinions or beliefs
  • Lack of Introspection: the examination of one's own conscious thoughts and feelings and trying to understand them

The above are all standard dictionary definitions and you can EASILY see why these characteristics could make a person be in a perpetual state of unhappiness. Next time if you are unhappy with your life, try asking yourself:
  • What am I scared of? Should I be scared? Maybe I need to be brave and do what I believe is right. Be brave.
  • Do I want too much? Do I have enough? Why don't I have enough? Be satisfied.
  • Am I in denial? Be honest - with yourself and with others.
  • What action can I take to change things? Am I making a change when I can because I am in denial or because I'm scared or just lazy? Be proactive.
  • Does what I can't stand affect me negatively? Should allow it to affect me? Is it even in my control to change what is happening? Be accepting and try to change your own perspective.
  • Why do I feel this way? Why do I think this way? Be critical of your thoughts
I'm not an expert in therapy and I don't expect anyone to do something just because I tell them to. I am not better than anyone else. And I am constantly working away these roots of unhappiness. My biggest problem is acceptance and tolerating thing when they don't agree with me. And it does make me unhappy.

But for the most part, because I am making an effort every day all the time, I have peace. And I deeply believe introspection, critical thinking, and most of all,  honesty has been the most rewarding for me - because they usually lead to action. Sometimes unnecessary honesty can bring unhappiness, but lying will always bring unhappiness. And if you are don't make an effort to be honest with yourself and with others, you will always be unhappy.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Paris Chinese Grocery - Belleville

Back to List of Asian Supermarket areas

So there are two major "Chinese Zones" in Paris. The first is in the 13th and the most popular, mostly run by the Chinese who were born in Vietnam or Laos, and the second is in Belleville, right next or sometimes known within the "dangerous" areas of Gare de l'Est where the majority of the Northern and subsaharan Africans reside and do business. I quoted "dangerous" because it is what all the Parisians tell me so I heed their warnings and do not go at night - I haven't seen anything dangerous in any of the 10th, 11th, 19th, or 20th - Belleville is the centre of where these arrondisements/districts meet. Indeed, this area is known for its cheap rent for immigrants and the working class. I'm not saying that this area isn't dangerous (in Jan 2014 a ton of prostitutes were arrested in the Chinatown there) but it's quite busy during the day and brimming in colour from the graffitis on the walls and the colour of the people so you kinda grow into invisibility amongst the crowd - whether you think that's dangerous or not is to each's interpretation. I did go there on a Sunday and there are a TON of prostitutes there. A little creepy....

I do like the grocery stores here in comparison to the 13th, as there are more Chinese things such as frozen dumplings for boil.

Anyway, the Chinatown in Belleville sprouted in the 1980s, stemming from by the large population of WenZhou, China immigrants. In 2000, according to this webpage on Chinese immigrants, there were 130 thousand Chinese people from WenZhou in Paris:
所以從1990年代開始,溫州人把經濟活動向巴黎的美麗城街(Rue de Belleville)開闢一個新的溫州人經濟活動區。美麗城街位於巴黎十區、十一區和十九區的交會處,原來是阿拉伯移民聚集區,屬於巴黎有名的落後貧窮地區,社會秩序相當混亂。
Starting from 1990s, the immigrants from Wenzhou, China moved their economic activities towards Paris's Belleville, to open a new economic activity centre for them. Belleville is the intersection of 10th, 11th, and 19th district of Paris, originally an immigrant centre for the Arabs, belonging to infamous Parisian high-poverty neighbourhood, full of social problems .

According to http://www.rendezvousfrance.com/chine.html
In the mid 1980's, another Chinatown sprouted in another part of Paris: Belleville, in the northeastern section of the city. Belleville, which was the home of Edith Piaf and Maurice Chevalier, has been for the longest time the neighborhood where new immigrants would settle. You can still find Jewish tailors and Armenian shoemakers; more recently, Arabs and Africans moved in. In the summer, rue Rebeval feels like Cholon, the Chinese open air market in Saigon.
And there are quite a number of chinese grocery stores here, opened by the Chinese from WenZhou. Some of which are opened on Sundays and closed on Mondays (although the laws keep changing).

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Paris Chinese Grocery - 13th Arr

Back to List of Asian Supermarket areas

A little background from: http://www.rendezvousfrance.com/chine.html
The 13th arrondissement, on the left bank, really took off in the late 1970's and early 1980's with the arrival of the "boat people" from Vietnam. The arrondissement had fallen victim to the depressing urban development started under the Gaullist government. This working class neighborhood was torn down and replaced by impersonal and ugly high rise buildings. No Parisian wanted to move in this universe of concrete. But the Chinese people who came from Vietnam found there a new Promised Land. The rents were cheap, there was plenty of space. They could build their own city - the largest Chinatown on the entire Continent - in the City of Light. In 1982, the first Chinese store open its doors. Now, there are over 150 restaurants in this southeastern part of Paris. The neighborhood's center is the place d'Italie, and its borders are the avenue d'Ivry, avenue de Choisy and boulevard Masséna. The only day to avoid Chinatown is Monday, when nothing much happens and most of it is closed."

Now I live in the 7th arr, which means for me to get anywhere near asian groceries is difficult. For me to get from my stop to Place d'Italie is 30 minutes with one change (top left circle), and Porte D'Ivry is about 45 minutes with one change (the bottom right circle).

Paris Asian Supermarkets

Most of the time, when I run searches on the Internet, I generally search in English, unless there's something specifically Chinese that I don't know the English word for or it's something uniquely Parisian that no one English-speaking would know to search for. So when I looked up asian super markets in English, I noticed that there's quite a void in the compilation and it took me a while to even figure out where to go for Asian groceries. So although I don't have a great list at the moment, I'm going to attempt and write them out and add to it as it is still a work in progress.

To start, the first thing you need to know is that Asian groceries are the easiest to obtain in three places in Paris: Chinatown in the 13th arr (the triangle of blvd massena, avenue de choisy, d'ivry, up to place d'italie), Chinatown in Belleville, and in 2nd arr (little japan by pyramides). But that doesn't mean that those are the only places that have asian groceries. Personally I haven't discovered too many, but I figure I'll try my best to provide what I know as long as I live here.

  • Chinatown in the 13th 
    • open Sundays until 1pm
    • more Vietnamese/Laos
  • Chinatown in Belleville 
    • some stores open Sundays all day but closed on Mondays
    • more Chinese (WenZhou)
    • neighbourhood a bit sketch
  • Asian Markets in the 6th
  • Asian Markets in the 3rd
  • Asian Markets in the 10th
  • Korean/Japanese in the 2nd (some stores open every day of the week all day)
  • Suresnes

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Humble Aloe

me:  man im such a genius
 Matt:  lol
pat yourself on the back some more why don't you?
 me:  im patting it so hard im starting to get a bruise
  Matt:  I have some humble aloe you can use on it

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Paris on Saturdays

Saturdays in Paris are the worst.

As one of the biggest cities in the world, within its 20 districts of this geographically small city, there are 2.5 million residents (accounted for, not including the high number of homeless people all over the place). On top of that, as the French love to tell you, it is the most visited city in the entire WORLDAccording to the city of Paris, there are 27 million visitors a year who don't live here.That means there are, on a very crude average, around 75 thousand visitors per day wandering around the city and not at work.

So write this down, 
Point #1: Paris has a lot of residents
Point #2: Paris has a lot of tourists

Now, a lot of the visitors are European, and are here for short weekend getaways as you can travel almost anywhere in Europe within 2 hours (flight/train/care what have you). So on weekends, Paris has more tourists than the average number. Let's say roughly 25% more so than weekdays. So we are talking approximately 100 thousand tourists on weekends.

Point #3: There are even more tourists on weekends than weekdays.

So let's so, if you were a resident, what would you do? Run your shopping and our errands on weekdays and avoid the crowd on a weekend? Easier said than done! Here is what the average store opening hours are like in Paris: 

Weekdays: 10am to 8pm 
Saturdays: 9am to 6pm
Sundays: CLOSED 

If you are an average working person that's in the office from 9am to 6pm, or even 10am to 7pm, the chances of you doing anything after work is next to impossible. If you are lucky, there might be a express grocery store near you that you buy something quick after work. Generally, you are probably pretty damn tired from the one hour commute squashed between the rat race and 75 thousand tourists who are wandering the narrow metro stations trying to figure out where they are going, or simply taking their time to smell the stench flowers. 

Point #4: It is difficult to run errands and grocery shop on weekdays if you work
Point #5: You cannot run errands and tourists cannot shop on Sundays

And there you have it. Saturdays in Paris are a NIGHTMARE. 100 thousand tourists are wandering the city, many who are trying to get their shopping on on Saturdays while all residents are racing to the grocery stores and malls, hoping to get everything they need to do done by the time the store close.

Saturdays are not for sleeping in or resting your brain from a long week of work! It is even more work....having to navigate between the tourists who don't seem to understand what living in a big city is like. They get on the metro, and instead of gunning as inside as possible so that all the people behind them can get in before the doors close, they step in the door, STOP, then check to see, if there are seats available, which seats they want, and if not, where they would like to stand....in the meanwhile, all you want to do is completely your chores so you can continue to live like human beings (have food, warm clothing, and clean shelter). 

Saturdays in Paris are the worst.

Thursday, January 16, 2014


Some people have asked me why I get so worked up when people are "fascinated" by my culture or background. What they clearly don't understand and are ignorant to is the difference between understanding and learning about another culture vs. objectifying another culture.

Hey world, I am not a "Chinese" "Girl" who cooks "exotic" "Chinese" food and speaks an "exotic" language.
Ethnicity and culture are not "cool" things you get to learn about but a strong part of of what makes up a person. I am no more defined by my skin colour as the hat I am wearing today as what my background culture is. Learning about a culture is more than saying shouting a couple of words of its language to a person walking by, liking some ethnic dish, or wearing a cultural clothing as a hallowe'en costume.

Learning about various cultures HELPS you understand A PART of what that person is made up of, it doesn't make the person who he or she is.

I am NOT an object that happens to be walking on the street or working next to you that you are "fascinated" with. I am a person just like you. Do you like Daft Punk BECAUSE YOU ARE FRENCH? Do you listen to the Beatles BECAUSE YOU ARE BRITISH? Do you dance to Elvis BECAUSE YOU ARE AMERICAN?

I like shopping as much as it's because I am Chinese as I am Canadian. No, I like shopping because my name is Lynn and I like to analyse things and i'm frugal and a minimalist, and my brain can't work in clutter mode and shopping allows me to look around, and analyse things and learn about culture and ensure i buy what works out for me price and practicality. Now if you had gotten to know me as a person, you might know that, but instead, you can just attribute it to the fact that I am "Chinese", whatever that means for you. In a similar vein, just because I grew up in Canada doesnt mean I love the cold.  Can you imagine a Canadian tell another Canadian "stop complaining, you're canadian, you should like the cold! You should be used to it!" Yeah clearly because i am from somewhere it makes me a super human who LOVES cold weather.

Next time when you make a comment based on someone's culture - think about what you are saying. No one is walking cultural artefact.