Archive for March, 2013

Revisit your favourite Saturday morning cartoons on Rogers Anyplace TV

Rogers Anyplace TVRemember when Saturday morning wasn’t about sleeping in? Instead, it was about getting up early and parking yourself in front of the tube to watch your favourite cartoons back to back.

I’m talking, of course, about Saturday morning cartoons, such as SpongeBob Squarepants.  Who doesn’t remember watching Bobby’s World before class? Who was your favourite Care Bear? And of course, Bugs Bunny and his Friends could always be counted on for some laughs.

With channels such as Nickelodeon, Teletoon Retro, Family Channel, Disney Junior and Disney XD, your kids can get their cartoon fix like never before. These channels are all also available on Rogers Anyplace TV, meaning you can watch many of them from your device of choice (computer, tablet or smartphone) wherever you are.

Thanks to Teletoon Retro and Nickelodeon, which all Rogers cable customers can receive on Rogers Anyplace TV for free until April 5, you can share some of your favourite childhood shows with your children. We recently chatted with Toronto blogger Emma Waverman about doing just that.

Were you a fan of Saturday morning cartoons? What was your favourite cartoon growing up?

I was a fan of Saturday morning cartoons. I remember sitting on the couch with my sister and a cereal box hoping that my mother wouldn’t wake up so we could keep watching.

We loved Josie and the Pussycats and Scooby-Doo and the Justice League – especially with the Wonder Twins. But the best thing that could happen on a Saturday morning was when Schoolhouse Rock! put on “Conjunction Junction”. We loved that one – partially because we never knew when to expect it!

Why were those cartoons your favourite?

I always liked the shows that had girls as the main characters — they were few and far between though!

You have kids now, what are some of their favourite shows?

My boys, especially my 9-year-old, love anything to do with superheroes; so Justice League, the Avengers, Iron Man. And my 7-year old daughter sometimes gets a chance to watch the girlie shows like My Little Pony and Strawberry Shortcake. But she also likes superheroes and dressed up as Wonder Woman for Halloween two years in a row.

Are you excited to introduce them to the shows you loved as a kid with Teletoon Retro on Rogers Anyplace TV?

Any time you can sit and bond with your kids and introduce them to a little bit of your own history, it’s a good thing. Sometimes the retro cartoons give us a chance to talk about how some things have changed about the world, and some things haven’t.

As a mom, what do you like most about Rogers Anyplace TV?

My daughter often steals my iPad and watches cartoons while her older brothers are watching shows that are just too scary for her. She knows how to work the iPad better than I do.

Where is the oddest place you, or your kids, have used Rogers Anyplace TV?

I found my daughter hiding under the dining room table watching retro cartoons the other day. It took me a while to find her!

What was your favourite Saturday morning cartoon?

Sarah is a regular contributor to RedBoard

Treehouse, YTV, Disney XD, Disney Junior, Family Channel, Nickelodeon, CBC Kids, Teletoon and Teletoon Retro available on Rogers Anyplace TV on desktop.

Treehouse, YTV, Disney XD, Disney Junior, Family Channel, Nickelodeon, CBC Kids and Teletoon available on Rogers Anyplace TV tablet app.

Treehouse, YTV, Nickelodeon, Teletoon and CBC Kids available on Rogers Anyplace TV smartphone app.

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Rogers LTE Network: Expanding to a market near you this spring

LTEWeekends and sunny weather can move at a crawl, but when it comes to streaming my favourite song on the way to work or downloading a report before a meeting, I’m thankful for the fast LTE speeds on my smartphone. So I’m excited to share that our Rogers LTE network, Canada’s fastest wireless internet, will be bringing its speed to 44 new markets in Atlantic Canada, Alberta, Ontario and Quebec this spring.

Today, we’re announcing that over the next couple months, we’ll be launching LTE in Saint John, New Brunswick; Medicine Hat, Alberta; Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario; Guelph, Ontario; Muskokas, Ontario; Collingwood, Ontario; and multiple cities in Quebec. We’ll announce the other 38 markets in updates to this post over the next couple months.

We’re also excited to confirm that Rogers will be making its 2600 MHz LTE spectrum band available in all 44 markets, and 34 of the 44 new markets will offer theoretical network speeds of 150 Mbps. Rogers has more LTE network deployed in the 2600 MHz spectrum band than any other carrier in Canada.

What does 2600 MHz LTE mean to Rogers customers?

The 2600 MHz LTE spectrum band delivers higher speeds over the same distance, allowing Rogers customers to experience even faster service. It’s like how a train track allows you to commute even more quickly, but in the case of LTE, it means even faster internet for you.

How do I access it?

To take advantage of the 2600 MHz spectrum, you need to be in one of the 2600 service areas and use a 2600-enabled device such as the LG Optimus G 2600 or the LTE Rocket™ hotspot. More 2600-enabled devices will be coming to the network this spring.

In the coming months we’ll be expanding our network to these 44 new markets and growing our lineup of LTE and 2600-enabled devices. Bookmark this page for updates as we expand our LTE and 2600 coverage, or visit www.rogers.com/LTE.

Update, April 22, 9 a.m.: We’re happy to announce we are rolling out our LTE network in seven new markets today, including Airdrie, Alberta; Langley, B.C.; and the following regions of Ontario: Keswick; Hamilton, including Grimsby; Orillia; Stratford; and Ottawa, including Kanata, Nepean, Gloucester, Stittsville and Cumberland.

Update, May 1, 9 a.m.: We’re excited to announce we have rolled out our LTE network to a number of new markets in Ontario, including Chatham; Milton; Sarnia; Woodstock; Orangeville; Brantford; Collingwood; St. Catharines Greater Area markets including Fort Erie, Port Colborne, Welland and Pelham; and Greater Toronto Area markets including King City, Bradford, Whitchurch-Stouffville, East Gwillimbury, Georgetown and Halton Hills. Our LTE network has also expanded to cover Kentville, N.S., and Lloydminster, Alta.

Update, May 17, 9 a.m.: This week we launched our LTE network to a number of new markets including Brooks, Cochrane and Canmore, Alta. and Sault Ste. Marie and Muskoka, Ont. We also expanded our LTE network to Saint-Georges, Que.; Sydney, N.S.; Bathurst, N.B and expanded our coverage in the Moncton, N.B., area.

Update, June 3, 9 a.m.: Today, we’re rolling out our LTE spectrum to La Baie, Que.; Victoiraville, Que.; Saint John, N.B.; Parksville, B.C.; and expanding our coverage in Halifax, N.S.; Trois-Rivieres, Que.; and Victoria, B.C.

Update, June 17, 12 p.m.: We’re happy to share today that we’ve rolled out our LTE  network in Quebec, to Baie-Comeau and Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu and expanded our coverage in Hull; in Medicine Hat, Alberta; and in Manitoba to Winnipeg, Brandon, Grand Beach and Victoria Beach. We have also expanded our LTE network to Grande Prairie, Alta.

Update, July 3, 9 a.m.: Today we’re lighting up our LTE network in six new regions, including Truro, N.S., Fort Saskatchewan, Alta., Chilliwack, B.C., Joliette, Que. Lennoxville, Que., and Spruce Grove/Stony Plain, Alta. We also expanded our coverage in the Greater Montreal Area.

UPDATE, Aug. 9, 2013, 9 a.m.: We’re happy to share today that our LTE network is now available in Red Deer and Fort McMurray, Alta.; Prince George, Vernon, Campbell River, Nanaimo, Kamloops and Penticton, B.C.; Steinbach and Selkirk, MB.; and Trenton and Belleville, Ont.

UPDATE, Sept. 11, 9 a.m.: Today we’re happy to announce our LTE network is now available in Courtney-Comox, B.C.; Wolfville, N.S.; and Lethbridge, Okotoks and Strathmore, Alta.

UPDATE, Oct. 8, 9:30 a.m.: We’re pleased to announce we are rolling out our LTE network in fifteen markets today, including Caledon, Midland, North Bay, Peterborough and St. Thomas, Ont.; Fort St. John and Shawnigan, B.C.; Chestermere and Leduc, Alta.; Charlottetown, P.E.I.; and Fredericton and Miramichi, N.B. Today, Rogers is also the first to bring LTE coverage to Antigonish, Fox Harbour and New Glasgow, N.S.

Update, Jan. 6, 10:45 a.m.: Today, we’re bringing LTE speeds to customers in various regions of Quebec, including the Greater Montreal Area (East), Granby, Lachute, Saguenay, Saint-Hyacinthe and Bromont. We’re also proud to announce we’ve achieved our goal of launching 95 new LTE markets in 2013. More to come in 2014!

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Weekend Reading: A suretap update and all things digital

Digital, digital, digital! It’s the word of the week for sure with news headlines focused on digital behaviour between generations, what happens in a digital minute and how much floor space you can save with a digital lifestyle. Plus, we fill you in on some updates to our suretap mobile payments solution. All in this week’s edition of Weekend Reading.

Suretap expands to Android and BlackBerry 10

Last year, we were excited to announce our partnership with CIBC to bring mobile payments to Canada. Since then, we have partnered with suretap to essentially turn your smartphone into a digital wallet. This week, we expanded suretap’s services to work on even more devices, including the Samsung Galaxy S3 and Note II for Android, plus the new Blackberry Z10.

Check out what’s being said online in some great posts this week from Tech Vibes, NFC News, IT NerdThe Cellular Guru, Mobile Syrup and IT Business. Have you made a purchase with suretap yet? What developments are you looking forward to in 2013? 

Digital habits differ between millennials, Gen Xers and boomers

Last week, we told you what millennials (ages 18 to 34) value at work, and the week before that we learned they value their smartphones over their vehicles. This week, eMarketer dug a little deeper to learn how they’re spending their time online.

While watching digital videos ranks highest amongst Gen Xers, millennials consume more social media than the other generations, with more than half of them Tweeting. Don’t count out the baby boomers though – almost 60 million were regular internet users in 2012, but they’re spending more time with video than social media.

These insights into millennials certainly ring true personally! Social media by far uses most of my time every month. Does the same hold true for you? Or are you into other smartphone features entirely?

A digital minute

By the time you finish reading this section, 277,000 people will have logged into Facebook, 204 million emails will have been sent and six new Wikipedia articles will have been published.

It’s absolutely staggering to see consumption by the minute and realize just how much is happening on the internet in a mere minute, let alone a day, month or year! Can you imagine what it will be like two years from now? ReadWriteWeb breaks it down in their infographic featuring how much internet data we go through in a minute, plus where we’re headed by 2015.

Are you surprised by any of these figures? Can you believe more than 320 Twitter accounts were just created?!

Smartphones free up your floor space

Living in a condo approximately 500 square feet by myself, space has been a constant sore point in an otherwise lovely dwelling. So when I saw Mashable’s headline Your Phone Can Replace 62 Cubic Feet of Furniture, I knew it was a must-read!

One of the main conveniences of mobile devices has become the cloud, and its ability to store tangible items virtually. But how many people stop to think of the space they could be saving in their home as a result? By transferring music and books to online libraries you can eliminate furniture such as bookcases, shelving and CD racks. Mashable actually demonstrates the space you could save by transferring storage in a fun graphic.

Is this the way of the future? How will this affect home decor? Guess I know how I’ll be spending my weekend – transferring everything online!

Kelly is a regular RedBoard contributor.

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Tablets by the numbers

Tablets by the numbers

You love your tablet, and why not? It’s portable, powerful and always connected – as long as you have a wireless internet plan. Chris Powell of Connected Rogers magazine shares the latest tablet stats.

It’s hard to believe that Steve Jobs once said in an interview that tablets, as a new product, would fail. He changed his mind, obviously, and look what’s happened since. Today, about one in 10 Canadians owns a tablet – an iPad, a Samsung Galaxy Tab, a BlackBerry PlayBook or otherwise – and that number is on a serious upswing.  As tablets get more useful, the number of tablets on the market keeps growing rapidly. Tablets are portable and powerful – simply put, they’re awesome. However, that awesomeness plummets significantly if you’re relying on Wi-Fi alone to get your tablet online.  We’re using our tablets for everything these days, from on-the-go gaming and TV viewing to web surfing and shopping. But all this requires a wireless internet plan – one that’s super-fast, affordable, reliable and secure. Connecting your tablet to the  Rogers LTE network means you can more fully enjoy your device, wherever you are.  Still on the fence about getting a wireless internet plan for your tablet? Consider the following:

About 1/3 of tablet use occurs outside the home

Approximately 33% of all time spent with tablets happens outside the home, whether at work/school (15%), in the car/commuting (14%) or while out shopping (4%). Tablets offer a whole whack of ways to enhance those out-of-home occasions, from maps, apps and TV streaming to comparison-shopping tools. But many of these tools rely on internet connectivity, and there’s no guarantee you’ll be able to establish a Wi-Fi connection wherever you are, especially if you’re on the move. You don’t use a pay phone for calls while you’re out, so why be limited to Wi-Fi hotspots to get online? Don’t let your chance at a great shortcut or killer deal be compromised by spotty internet.

53% of tablet owners watch video or stream TV on their Tablet

Whether they’re being used as part of two-screen viewing or to watch full  episodes, tablets have become an  integral part of the 21st-century TV experience. What they lack in screen size, they make up for with portability, accessible controls (no more losing the remote) and, with headphones on, an immersive viewing experience. At the same time, new tools, like the Rogers Anyplace TV tablet app, allow you to catch up on full episodes  of shows or watch trailers for upcoming movies. Watching live streaming requires a reliable internet connection, however, and a wireless internet plan can ensure you don’t miss a moment of Modern Family or Seed.

For more tablet stats and support, check out the full article in Connected Rogers magazine.

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Rogers roundup: Android apps to celebrate spring

Samsung Galaxy phone taking a photo of daisies.Blooming buds, chirping birds and sweet, sweet sunshine: Canadians are already eagerly watching for the first signs of spring, which officially begins Wednesday. In honour of the start of patio and BBQ season, we’re sharing some of our favourite Android apps for spring entertaining from the Google PLAY store.

Barbequing done right

A warm evening just begs for dinner to be thrown on the grill. The iGrill helps you cook burgers and steaks to perfection. This thermometer, which costs $80, communicates via Bluetooth with a free app from the Google PLAY store (it’s also available for iOS), to help you track cooking times and even serves up recipes.

Bored with burgers? Cooking apps such as Big Oven (free), which features more than 250,000 recipes, Epicurious (free), which boasts more than 28,000 meal ideas, and celebrity chef Jamie Oliver’s 20-minute meals app ($3.80) will help spice up your menus to take advantage of all that fresh produce.

Entertaining made easy

If you’re serving dinner for a group, you can manage your party prep and planning with Pepperplate (free). This app lets users share recipes, create menus and shopping lists and run multiple cooking timers to make sure that pot on the stove doesn’t boil over while you’re mixing mojitos.

A night in the backyard or balcony also calls for a great soundtrack. Music-streaming concierge Songza (free) lets you choose playlists based on activity or mood, while the subscription-based Rdio (free) offers more than 18 million songs on demand.

Shoot like a pro

In this “Pictures or it didn’t happen” society, it doesn’t hurt to upgrade your phone’s editing software to make sure your home-cooked meals,  hand-picked bouquets and perfect pedicures look their best on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and beyond. Adobe PhotoShop Touch ($3.99) brings Adobe’s popular photo-editing features, including layers, filters, tone and colour adjustment to your phone.

And if you’re looking for a new phone or tablet to go with your fresh spring wardrobe, you can get a $35 voucher – only available in Canada through Rogers – to spend on great apps in the Google PLAY store when you activate a Samsung Galaxy S III, Note 2 or another eligible Samsung Galaxy device with a two or three year plan before April 1.

Did we miss any of your favourite apps? Share your must-haves in the comments.

Jennifer is a regular contributor to RedBoard.

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Weekend Reading: “Millennials,” Samsung Galaxy S4, and mobile shopping

From New York to Toronto – we’ve got your biggest stories this week including more on “millennials”, news on the Samsung Galaxy S4 and a look at mobile shopping habits – can you guess who’s leading the pack with online purchases? Find out in this week’s edition of Weekend Reading.

What “Millennials” really want from work

In last week’s Weekend Reading we told you about “millennials,” those in the 18-34 demographic who value their smartphones over their cars. This week, millennials are in the media again, this time for their work values.

According to Business 2 Community, the average millennial checks their device 34 times a day, which says a lot about this age group and how they are re-defining what is valued in the workplace. For instance, 45% of those surveyed said they would take lower paying jobs in exchange for more mobility, BYOD (bring your own device) options, and social media privileges.

Being a “millennial” myself I can relate to lot of what’s being said in the article. Smartphones are personal and unique, and I absolutely value being able to use the device(s) I’m most comfortable with at work. That said though, I’m not sure if I’d be willing to sacrifice my wallet for my phone, as would half of those surveyed by Cisco.

Check out the full article for more on what motivates this generation and how to work with their tech needs. How often do you check your device during the day? Or would you take a lower paying job in exchange for more mobility?

Samsung Galaxy S4

After much suspense, the new Samsung Galaxy S4 was “unpacked” last night in NYC.

The Samsung Galaxy S4 will include features like Smart Pause, an eye-tracking technology that automatically pauses a video when you look away from the screen, and Sound & Shot, which adds sound to the pictures you capture.

Check out all the great features on the Samsung microsite here, watch the unveiling on the Samsung YouTube Channel and stay tuned to RedBoard for more details on availability.

Moms lead the mobile shopping revolution

Mobile commerce is slated to become one of the biggest online trends for 2013. Not only are people doing most of their browsing online, but they’re becoming less hesitant to makes purchases online as well– especially moms.

According to a new study from eMarketer, 70 per cent of moms surveyed reported using their smartphone or tablet to shop, while one-third said the devices accounted for almost half their shopping time if not more! Retail apps play the largest role in purchasing decisions, though advice and ratings from fellow moms still ranks highest when it comes to deciding to buy.

Have your shopping habits changed with technological advancements? What are you looking forward to with future developments?

Kelly is a regular Redboard contributor.

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Making a difference: Q & A with YWCA Moncton’s Beth Lyons

We’ve chosen to dedicate our corporate giving to programs which support scholastic success. It’s important to us that Canadian youth from coast to coast have access to the resources and tools they need to reach their academic goals. It’s the impetus behind the Rogers Youth Fund program. When YWCA Moncton’s very own Beth Lyons, Youth Programs Manager, told us how essential Rogers Youth Fund support was to her Youth Thrive programming, we once again had proof that we were making a difference. It’s a good feeling.

We asked Beth to talk about the important work done within the YWCA’s Youth Thrive program. Here’s what she had to say:

Why are programs that centre around academic success important to YWCA Moncton?
The academic success of the pre-teens and teens we work with is critical, because it will have a direct effect on their earning power and quality of life down the line, once they reach adulthood. It’s also tied into self-esteem: doing well in school is perceived as a measure of success. There is an element of shame associated with doing poorly in school. We want all our youth to face the world with strong self-esteem.

What is Youth Thrive?
The YWCA’s Youth Thrive program supports academic support for youth – both girls and boys – in the Moncton community. It involves two streams: Techno Tutoring and On My Way.

Can you explain each?
Techno Tutoring is for middle school girls and boys. Our paid tutors work twice a week with students in two schools who are chronically below grade level and really need extra support. Rogers funding also allowed us to purchase iPads, e-readers and LED tablets, all of which not only help learning, but also help remove the stigma that could otherwise have been associated with the program. Techno Tutoring sessions have become a place all students wish they could be. Finally, by entrusting these students, many of whom come from economically disadvantaged homes, with technology they might not otherwise have access to, we’re sending them a message of empowerment. They know we trust them to handle this equipment and it’s a much-needed boost to their self-esteem.

On My Way is a program for high school girls. Again, the focus is on academic success. We work with students who are performing below grade level and at risk of dropping out. The girls meet with us once a week for a full hour, and have access to iPads and e-readers. They also get the support they need to help them deal with the pressures of their lives, thanks to their ongoing relationships with tutors whose salaries are paid for by Rogers Youth Fund. It makes a huge difference to be able to count on the continued presence of paid staff.

What kind of difference do you think this makes in the lives of the young people you work with?
We worked with one boy who was reading well below grade level. All his friends were into the Hunger Games trilogy, and he wasn’t able to join in the conversation about this popular series because he found reading too hard. We were able to set him up with a Kobo e-reader and an iPod-enabled audio book. Having the audio took some of the pressure off. He was able to listen to the book and follow along with the e-reader, much as if it were close captioning. Not only was he able to discuss the book with his peers, but his reading skills improved.

Another young woman we’ve worked with was coming up to the deadline for her high school equivalency, and it was obvious she wouldn’t get there on her own. We set up her with one of our tutors, who helped her prioritize and understand her work. She graduated on time as a result.

Our thanks to Beth for taking the time out of her busy schedule to speak with us. Do you have any questions for us about the work we support through Rogers Youth Fund?

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Express yourself with colours

You can create your own splatter just like Elise’s above, by using the app on the Rogers Facebook page.

Let’s talk colours. Bold colours. Yellow makes us happy, pink calms us and white is fashionable any time of the year. Bright colours can make us hungry – don’t you want these macaroons now? Even 4-year-olds battle over their morning wardrobe choices, because the right colour can make or break an outfit.

We’re celebrating colour at Rogers with our bright new Nokia Lumia 920 series and asked Dudeman, a Toronto graffiti artist, to create a mural inspired by the devices. He took a few minutes away from painting to share by email his thoughts on colour, street art and technology.

How did you get into graffiti art?
I’ve always wanted to have control over my own work. Back in 1984 I found a loose page which had fallen out of the book “Subway Art” by Martha Cooper and Henry Chalfant. It was incredibly inspiring and I would have to say that was my strongest influence. I eventually moved into a huge warehouse studio when I was 20 and from there I started working on a much bigger scale – THAT spoke to me immensely.

Do you think growing up in Toronto has influenced you and your art?
It’s hard to say for sure. Seeing the Flatiron Building or the Henry Moore sculpture outside the AGO are definitely things which left a mark on me as a child.

Who is your favourite graffiti artist – Canadian or otherwise?
I would have to say, hands down it was “MODE 2” and “SEEN“. We have extremely different styles, yet they helped me dream.

What is your favourite colour?
That’s not a question to which I can provide a direct answer, but I can tell you that when I was a child starting out on this lifelong quest, whenever I would set out to do a project, it was always two of each colour used: red, orange, yellow, light blue, dark blue, light green, dark green, pinks, purples, plus a black and a white. Always BIG COLOUR!

How do colours talk to you?
I am definitely NOT afraid of colour. Colour needs to be balanced and this is not something which I can communicate with words, I’m too busy with my hustle otherwise known “as in the zone.”

I’ve seen on your website that you go beyond graffiti. You’ve decorated furniture and made installations for fashion retailers. How is creating graffiti on the street different from working for a brand?
You earn your keep, build your reputation by pioneering your style and honing your craft on the streets. This is a constant evolution for any artist. There’s no textbook which dictates how and where you should proceed after that. Some graffiti writers don’t believe in doing commercial work, but if you spend your life trying to impress other people, then whose life are you living in the end? Follow your passion and be true to yourself.

The great thing about doing work for clients is that there are two entities at play here, your artwork (which is the only thing which will speak for you once you have left the room) and the art of business. Put yourself to the test, step up your game and give your client the best experience you can, integrity goes a long way in life.

You’ll walk away proud.

How do you integrate technology and innovation into your work?
I have a huge digital background. The most important thing in life is to be diverse. My father taught me that, “The more skills you have, the more choices you’ll have in life.” When times are slow, I am able to switch gears while maintaining a forward momentum. I’m able to superimpose my work onto photographs (of a client’s home, etc.) in order to showcase to my clients what my art can look like in their environment and that is a tool I can use in order to put us on the same page

What advice would you give students who want to become artists?
Joe Jobs are not below you. Earn your keep, just keep at it because you can’t place this much effort and passion into your craft without gaining results eventually. Seek out willing mentors, ask questions, take chances and above all be true to yourself … it WILL eventually come if you follow those rules.

Forward not straight.

dudeman-rogers-001

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All pictures by Dudeman. You can follow him on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Windows Phone 8 is all about colour: the user interface is super bright and the devices are available in a flashy yellow, fireman red or an elegant white. So what happened when Dudeman painted his mural? Find out here! Inspired to paint your own colourful digital mural? Here’s how!

Please link back to your murals in the comments, we want to see your colours!

Elise is a regular contributor to RedBoard.

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Peace of mind starts at home with Rogers Smart Home Monitoring

Blogger Rebecca Stanisic says her kids enjoy being able to use Rogers Smart Home Monitoring to see who is at the door when the doorbell rings.

Are you going away this spring? Lucky you!

Flights, check!

Luggage, check!

Passports, check!

What about your home?

When planning a vacation, we often take the time to protect ourselves by getting insurance, learning about our destination, and reading about helpful tips for staying safe. But how about the things we leave behind? York Regional Police has put together a great list of home safety tips for you and your family.

We also spent some time with @BitofMomsense (aka Rebecca Stanisic) who is trialing Rogers Smart Home Monitoring for a year, to ask her how the service helps her when she’s away from home:

What insider tips would you like to share with families who are going away this spring?
Take the usual precautions when going away:

  • Tell a neighbour or someone that you trust that you won’t be around and have them drive by or keep an eye on the house.
  • Be sure to notify anyone on your monitoring system contact list too!
  • Ask someone to pick up mail or newspapers.
  • One of the things we do before we go is unplug all unnecessary items like coffee makers or toasters.
  • Before leaving, do a walk around the house to ensure that things are in order!

How did having Smart Home Monitoring help you feel safer when you were travelling?
Being able to connect with our home monitoring system via an app on our  mobile is like having our security, and peace of mind, in our pockets.  I can check the system to see if anything has been triggered, check the camera and know that I will get a text should the alarm go off.

When we travel, it’s nice to know that if there is a problem we will be notified immediately, via email and text (and then phone).  It’s not just if the house gets broken into, or if the glass breaks. Fire, gas and water leakage alarms are also set up which definitely is an added comfort.  The house is well taken care of when we are away!

Did you have an alarm system in the past?
We did have a system beforehand that included monitoring and motion sensors. We had it installed when we first built the house 9 years ago.

Rogers Smart Home Monitoring offers much more than our old system did. Not only do we still have the motion sensors and monitoring, but we have the front door camera (my favourite feature), the touchpad, the App, the texts and emails.  I feel like the communication is better and the service is better.

What are your favorite features of Rogers Smart Home Monitoring?
I truly am most impressed with the camera.  Being able to quickly look to see who is at the front door when the doorbell rings just adds extra peace of mind to me, plus the kids enjoy seeing who is there!

We also have the ability to control appliances and lamps remotely, so we can have a light go on and off while we are away.  We haven’t set one up yet but we are looking forward to using that option.

One of the most stressful things for me used to be setting our house alarm as we left for trips.  Often I was doing this by myself on my way to pick up my husband at work before we left.  It meant I would arm it, run out the door, get in the car and wait to make sure it set properly. Now, I am able to set it anywhere and anytime I want.  If I forget, I can do it from a parking lot!

I remember reading on Twitter that you adjusted the thermostat from your car on your way back home – that must have been handy, tell us more about it!
Yes! Being able to adjust the thermostat from anywhere (including my bed!) is a pretty neat feature.  We have to remember to take it off the programming before we travel to be able to control it (the program tries to override us sometimes) but it’s excellent. Before we had Rogers Smart Home, we would turn down the air conditioning or the heat while we were away and return home to an extremely hot or cold house.  Now, the house is at a perfect temperature when we arrive home, and it’s as though we had never left.

Are you going away soon? Share your tips on keeping your home safe in the comments below.

Elise is a regular RedBoard contributor.

Do you live in Hamilton, Oakville, Burlington, Niagara Falls, St. Catharines and other Golden Horseshoe areas? As of today, we’re happy to announce that you can now sign up for Smart Home Monitoring by visiting this link.

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Weekend Reading: Internet consumption, smartphone or car, and the HTC One

If there’s one thing I love writing about, it’s the endless stats that pop up online surrounding how important technology has become in our daily lives. This week we found some great articles that opened our eyes to how much we rely on the internet on a daily basis and what age group is more likely to give up their car before their smartphone. As well, we tell you about a new HTC Cash Back Offer for customers. Catch up with us in this week’s edition of Weekend Reading. 

 

How much internet do we consume daily?

Ever wonder just how much data you really consume in a single day? If like me, you’re in for a surprise.

Internet Service Providers posted an infographic this week that’s pretty mind blowing, considering there are only 24 hours, 1440 minutes or 86400 seconds in one day.

So what did they find? For starters, there are 2.4 billion internet users worldwide. Of them, there are 2.8 million emails sent every second, 320 new Twitter accounts made every minute, and 780,000 apps downloaded every hour! This translates to about 133,333 years online, can you believe it?!

More crazy stats in the full infographic here.

What do you value more – your car, or smartphone?

This answer could likely vary depending on your age group, as showcased by a recent survey from The Huffington Post. According to the survey, “Millennials” (ages 18-34) were the only group to put their mobile device needs before that of transportation.

That being said, they were also the more conscious of the groups to make an effort to utilize things such as public transit, carpooling, and walking or biking. With so many alternatives, it’s easier to see why 30% were more willing to give up their car before their smartphone.

How do you feel about the results? Are you a “millennial” who passionately stands by your device? Or in another age bracket who defies the stats and would sacrifice your vehicle for your smartphone? I think no matter what demographic you fall into, it’s a tough decision. As one of our previous Rogers Innovation Reports indicated, 4% of Canadians would be willing to sacrifice bathing to keep their internet – maybe it’s not such a difficult choice after all! What do you think?

HTC One awards and promo offers

Those of you looking to upgrade to the new HTC One couldn’t have picked a better time! After winning “Best New Mobile Handset, Device or Tablet” at the Mobile World Congress, HTC decided to supply a $100 (CDN) credit to HTC customers who trade in their older HTC model to purchase the HTC One.

For a limited time, customers can register for the HTC Cash Back Offer, purchase and activate a new HTC One before March 31, 2013 then send in their old phone with proof of purchase of their new phone. HTC will then send a Prepaid VISA card worth minimum $100 (CDN) in value! Full details on the phone and HTC Cash Back Offer available here. A fantastic offer for a fantastic device!

Kelly is a regular Redboard contributor.

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