The holidays are prime time for house parties, and music is key for setting the right vibe for your festivities. My friends tend to love the limelight, so our shindigs often end with a little friendly competition over the microphone.
Forget getting up on stage in a crowded bar or booking a limited session in a private space – did you know you can sing karaoke in the comfort of your own home with Rogers on Demand? Find the karaoke channel by visiting Channel 100, navigating to Music, then choosing Karaoke on Demand. No microphone required – a hairbrush will do the trick!
You can choose from hundreds of songs to inspire your inner rock star, including everything from oldies to hip hop and country. You can also set up a playlist of all your choices, to keep the performances rolling.
Have trouble choosing just what to croon? The @RogersBuzz team was happy to share their favourite tunes:
@RogersJenW: My earliest music memories are from the boy band era, so I tend to default to the 90s when making my song choices. The Spice Girls’ Stop is a much-loved favourite – yes, I still remember all of the dance moves – as is anything early Weezer and Carly Rae Jepsen’s Call Me Maybe. Carrying a tune isn’t my strong suit, but I still have fun with it!
@RogersMary: Personally, I don’t sing karaoke publicly because I’m way to shy for that. But in my own living room, it’s an entirely different story ;-) My daughter and I plug in the karaoke machine and sing along to the ROD karaoke channel. I love anything classic Madonna while my daughter tends to lean towards popular top 40.
@RogersElise: For me, it’s: Stop! In the name of love by The Supremes. I was supposed to sing it with two friends at a karaoke once for my birthday. We were at a bar, singing in front of an audience. When we were called, they had disappeared so I started the song by myself thinking they would join me soon. They actually left me by myself for the whole song, and recorded my singing. Of course I was dreadful and I looked ridiculous frantically visually searching the room, but it is now one of my best karaoke memories.
Gina: My favourite karaoke song is “Ring of Fire”, in the style of Jonny Cash, because even if you can’t sing you can still have fun talk-singing.
@RogersSarahM: The first is Pretty Woman by Roy Orbison. From the ages of 10 to 13, I was in Navy Cadets. Once a month, we had a weekend camp, where every Saturday night we did karaoke. The commanding officer of our corps was a giant man in his 50s, who didn’t say much but still managed to intimidate the cadets (including me) in just the right way. His karaoke performance never failed. Every camp, he got up and sang Pretty Woman. It was one of my most endearing memories of him.
The second one is Hey Jude! by the Beatles. About 10 years ago, I sang it with a group of friends. My friend Michelle knocked it out of the park on lead vocals. It was definitely the best karaoke experience I’ve ever been a part of.
Caitlin: Coolio’s Gangsta’s Paradise, Salt N’ Pepa’s Shoop and Brian Mcknight’s Back at One. They are older songs that everyone can get into (maybe not Brian Mcknight…) but they are fun to do and usually people will start singing along! I have a terrible voice (I’m not just saying that…my parents and my boyfriend have told me so) so it’s always nice when others join in on the song.
What’s your go-to karaoke hit?
The second Dec. 1 hits, it always feels like my calendar has been kicked into overdrive. Where previously I had listed carefully scheduled workout classes and date nights, I’ve suddenly got back-to-back shopping trips, holiday parties and dinners. Not to mention the all-important travel plans to visit my parents back East.
By Jan. 2, I always wonder if the holiday decorations were worth it – I haven’t been home in a month! In between, though, I worry about how safe my home is while I’m out of town.
So just in time for the holiday season, the Rogers Smart Home Monitoring team shares five simple ways to keep your home safe while you’re travelling.
- Lock it down. Double check that all windows, doors, gates and garage doors are locked. While you’re at it, remove any spare keys from obvious hiding spots such as under your doormat or flowerpots.
- Get a helping hand. Arrange for a friend or neighbour to check in every couple of days to verify all is well, bring in any mail and water your plants.
- Automate your security system. Advanced security systems can now do way more than a simple alarm. For example, In addition to sending real-time alerts via email or text message, Rogers Smart Home Monitoring can control heat levels, lights and small appliances through an app on your smartphone or tablet.
- Be energy efficient. Manage your holiday energy costs by automating your lights and thermostats and unplugging small appliances such as your toaster and coffeemaker. To help prevent your pipes from freezing, don’t turn your heat down any lower than 13°C.
- Make it look lived in: To keep your absence on the down-low, try to make your home look occupied. Put your newspaper subscription on hold and automate your lights with Smart Home Monitoring.
Download the Rogers Smart Home Monitoring Demo App to get a sneak peek of the Smart Home Monitoring system features.
Safe travels this holiday! Where will you be travelling this year?
Luckily, we all know how The Grinch ends! Of course, there are a lot of films we watch, in their entirety, to help us get in the spirit of the season.
So today, I’m excited to join RedBoard readers for a live chat about all your holiday movie traditions and memories.
And, seeing as it is the season of giving, keep your eyes peeled for some trivia questions that you can answer for your chance to win a cool movie prize pack.
Check out the full contest rules here, and I’ll see you at noon (EST)!
Today, Sara Graham, editor of TheTravelPresse.com, shares some highlights from her recent travels. The soon-to-be Prague-based travel writer has also written for various print and online publications including The Huffington Post. Follow her on Twitter @thetravelpresse.
Usually when I travel, it means taking photos with my camera, and waiting to upload them to social media until I get back to my computer.
Life just got so much simpler (and the photos so much better) for this traveler. Here’s how:
- Take your shot easily in low-light or nighttime: For low-light landscape photos, and night scenes, I easily made the shot by tapping on the screen to select the focal point. Presto … what was dark became light!
- Getting the perfect shot with HTC Zoe. The HTC One mini comes with an exclusive feature called HTC Zoe, which allowed me to take three-second living pictures (think Harry Potter). Afterwards, I was able to pick stills out of each Zoe. Brilliant!
- Share instantly: Good photos should be seen in the moment. Thanks to my Rogers data pack, I was able to keep my Instagram, Twitter and Facebook accounts alive with images every day. And by selecting a roaming pack before I left, I was able to stay on budget.
- Stay on track: Prague is a cobbled maze of streets, so GPS and long battery life is practically a lifeline. The HTC One mini helped me find addresses and get to appointments on time. Heck, I was even early for once!
After using the HTC One mini on my trip, I don’t think I’ll be returning to lugging my laptop or camera around on my travels again.
How do you use your smartphone when you’re travelling?
Carols, cards, gifts and parties: the holiday spirit is in full swing this week. So we’re offering up gift options for everyone on your list and sharing a few of our favourite festive apps. We’re also talking about the Wireless Code, which came into effect on Monday, and looking at how many people have embraced the new Apple operating system.
Read all about it in this week’s edition of the weekend reading!
We decorate our homes and sometimes even our desks – so why not extend the cheer to our smartphones? This week @RogersSarahM shares her favourite Android apps for the season, including a few picks, like Mint, that will help keep you organized year-round. Plus, Rogers customers can now have their Google Play purchases billed to their monthly Rogers statement. Find out how here.
What are your holiday app picks?
I’m still hunting down the perfect finishing touches for the loved ones on my shopping list, but we’ve compiled our list of everything you need for a very Merry Tech-mas! Whether you’re looking for a smartphone with a stellar camera for your favourite shutterbug or some wearable tech to help a family member reach their fitness goals, we’ve got you covered!
What do you hope to find under the tree this holiday?
Wireless Code 101
The CRTC’s Wireless Code came into effect on Dec. 2, 2013, applying to individuals and small business customers who sign up for a new contract or renew their existing contract on or after that date. The Code makes some changes to wireless services for Canadians, including two-year plans and a cap on certain fees. We also created this handy Q&A to help explain what it means for you.
Nearly three-quarters of Apple users have upgraded to iOS 7, according to Mashable. The new operating system was released in September, updating the notification bar and adding background updates and a Control Centre where you can turn on Wi-Fi settings and open the camera. (Check out our tips for getting the most out of your keyboard with iOS7.)
Are you using the newest operating system for your device?
Santa’s elves must surely be expert programmers by now, with high-tech toys topping wishlists for children and adults alike. My mom’s holiday gift last year was a tablet, and I know my gentleman friend is hoping this year brings a shiny new Samsung Galaxy S4 under the tree.
Picking the right high-tech gift can be tricky, so start by considering your loved ones’ hobbies, then check out our recommendations to make shopping a breeze.
The shutterbug: Selfie was the Oxford Dictionary’s word of the year in 2013. Even if the gadget-lover in your life isn’t busy snapping self-portraits for social media, they’re probably still part of the growing wave of people capturing memories with their smartphones. The new Nokia Lumia 1020, available in black and yellow, has a 41 megapixel camera that allows for precision zooming and cropping. The Moto X, meanwhile, is great for taking photos in a flash with its quick capture camera. You simply need to twist your wrist twice to open the camera app, then touch the screen anywhere to get the shot – fast.
The film fanatic: Buffering can ruin the power of an award-winning performance or a beautiful breakaway shot. Friends who love to watch on the go need a wireless device capable of fast network speeds to support downloading large files or streaming video. Check out the LG G2 (you can win your own on Howard Forums) and Samsung Note 3 smartphones, which are both capable of maximum theoretical download speeds of 150 mbps.
The gym rat: Both the serial marathoner and the newbie gym-goer (plus everyone in between) could enjoy a wearable fitness technology gadget. Devices like the Fitbit Flex bracelet or the Fitbit Zip track steps, distance travelled and calories burned to help you get a head start on those 2014 resolutions.
The music lover: The HTC One smartphone was an essential item for our music festival survival guide, and is sure to please the audiophile in your life. “HTC BoomSound” and dual front stereo speakers powered by Beats Audio amps mean your family members can listen to all their favourite top 100 tunes – and you can even throw in a set of headphones to make sure their soundtrack stays solo.
The outdoorsy type: Rock-climbing, hiking and mountain biking can take its toll on your tech. The Cat B15 smartphone was designed with a rugged user in mind – it can survive a fall from 1.8 metres, is dust resistant and can even be submerged under a metre of water for half an hour.
For the technophile: Coveting the latest gadget is no longer reserved just for the tech-obsessed, but for that special someone who likes to stay ahead of the curve, now’s the time to explore wearable tech. Worn on your wrist, the Samsung Galaxy Gear lets you preview messages from your device, save voice memos, make hands-free calls, take pictures, track your steps and more.
For you: After all that hard work shopping for everyone on your list, it’s about time you reward yourself. Check out more than 100 of the world’s top magazine titles on your tablet with Next Issue Canada . The all-you-can-read digital magazine service is available on iPad, Android tablets and Win8 devices, and starts at $9.99 for monthly titles plus digitized back issues. For $14.99, you can add weekly titles to your selection. Sign up now at www.nextissue.ca.
Visit Rogers.com or your local Rogers store to pick up any of the gifts on this list.
What technology has made your holiday wishlist this year?
With the unofficial start of the holiday shopping season upon us, this week we’re celebrating some Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals. For those of you lucky enough to have crossed all the presents off your lists, read on in this week’s edition of the Weekend Reading for more on Rogers hockey broadcast deal, the office of the future and the latest Snapchat stats.
Snapchat is the latest buzz-worthy photo-sharing service. For the uninitiated, the app allows users to send self-destructing images to their friends. The appeal? No more photos of your boyfriend’s lunches clogging up your SMS inbox and the ability to instantly see whether your friend has viewed the photo of the frock that you’re waffling on. Plus the security of knowing that if you deem that dress unflattering, the photo won’t still be floating around in cyberspace.
How popular is this new app? According to a report from Mashable, Snapchat users send 400 million “snaps” each day – more than double the number sent in June. While CEO Evan Spiegel didn’t share the size of its total user base, he did reveal that 70 per cent of their users are women.
Have you downloaded Snapchat yet?
We all know technology is changing the office environment. Whether it’s answering emails on our commutes or video-conferencing with colleagues and clients, how, when and where we work is evolving. Looking forward, the new Rogers Connected Workplace report, commissioned by Harris Decima, predicts the workplace of the future will be less centralized, more mobile and more flexible. More than half, 52 per cent, of Canadians said they would embrace a Bring Your Own Device policy, and 40 per cent said they’d prefer to do more of their work on laptops (the current leading workplace device, with 45 per cent, is the desktop).
What would you like to see in the workplace of the future?
Hurrah for hockey
Starting next season, Rogers will be your go-to for all things hockey. Rogers has scored a landmark 12-year broadcast and multimedia agreement with the National Hockey League. The agreement starts with the 2014/15 season and continues through the 2025/26 season.
This deal includes national rights, in all languages, across TV broadcasts, internet and mobile streaming, as well as all linear and digital highlights including condensed games and video archives. On any given night, Rogers will provide multiple game coverage on up to nine TV channels (including City and Sportsnet) plus digital and radio.
The deal also includes a partnership with CBC for Hockey Night in Canada broadcasts and TVA for all national French-language coverage.
Who are you cheering on this hockey season?
Hot holiday deals
True confession: I was one of those people at the mall at 6 a.m. this morning seeking Black Friday deals. The early wakeup, freezing temps and gigantic coffee is an annual tradition with one of my girlfriends, and honestly, the savings are just the icing on the cake.
While my shopping energy for the day is certainly (probably?) spent, there are still bargains to be had. When you purchase and activate a Samsung smartphone on select two-year plans before Jan. 6, you can get a Galaxy Gear for $49.99 – check out the full details at www.rogers.com/gear.
Stay tuned this weekend for our pointers on how to take advantage of all the Cyber Monday deals!
What purchases will you make this weekend?
This week, we learned that English-speaking Canadians log more online hours than their Francophone peers, and that seniors are going online in increasing numbers. We also learned how to get the most out of your iOS 7 keyboard and introduced carrier billing on the Google Play store. Learn more in the latest edition of the Weekend Reading!
We all know that Canadians log a lot of online hours, but it turns out that screen time varies depending on your language preferences. According to a CRTC “Communications Monitoring Report”, English-speaking internet users spent more than 20 hours online per week in 2012 – seven hours more than their Francophone counterparts. That’s a difference of more than 54.6 per cent! This gap is also growing: in 2008, Anglophones spent 13.8 hours online, as compared to 11.2 hours for their French-speaking peers.
Why do you think English Canada’s internet use is growing faster than its French counterpart?
Last month, Apple released its new iOS 7 operating system – revamping the functionality and look from the lock screen right down to the keyboard. Whether you’re tapping away on an iPhone or iPad, this week we shared a few secret tips to help make typing even easier.
And, speaking of tablets, if you’re considering grabbing one of our newest devices this weekend, be sure to check out our latest offers. From now until Jan. 6, you can add a tablet to your Share Everything plan and share your data for $0 for 10 months. You can also save with Rogers Trade Up: bring in your old smartphone or tablet to a Rogers store to receive a credit towards a new one.
The over 65 set is becoming increasingly connected, with 48 per cent of Canadian seniors saying they went online last year. According to the Statistics Canada report, as shared by BetaKit, that’s eight per cent more than in 2010. Amongst the Canadian population as a whole, 83 per cent of Canadians over 16 were online last year, up from 80 per cent in 2010.
The research also saw mobile internet use rise amongst all ages, from 33 per cent in 2010 to 58 per cent in 2012.
How has your internet use changed since 2010?
This week, Rogers became the first Canadian carrier to start rolling out carrier billing to the Google Play store. That means customers can buy any of Google’s one million apps and additional offerings and then bill the charges directly to their Rogers account. Payments can be made through a secure, one-click payment system and the charges will appear on the customer’s monthly Rogers bill – no credit card details required. Rogers carrier billing is also available with BlackBerry App World and Microsoft’s Windows Phone Store.
The service should be available to all Rogers customers in the coming weeks.
What’s your favourite Android app?
Giving back to the community is an important part of our culture here at Rogers. So we’re incredibly proud that the United Nations Association in Canada (UNA-Canada) has recognized our CEO Nadir Mohamed as the Outstanding Global Citizen of the Year. Nadir was selected for his extensive efforts to help youth and young entrepreneurs succeed, including his efforts to strengthen the community through the launch of the Rogers Youth Fund, our Employee Volunteer Program and Connected for Success, our affordable broadband program.
Have a great weekend!
Do you love creepy thrillers or cuddly talking cats? Either way, we want to hear from you about your favourite scary movies for Halloween viewing. Log on to chat with us at 12 p.m. EDT, and join our trivia contest for a chance to win an awesome movie prize pack (see the full rules here)! See you at noon!