Archive for the ‘General’ Category
Weekend Reading: Smartphone user dating habits, coding for kids and LTE in seven new markets this week
Ever wonder what your smartphone reveals about dating frequency? Or what apps are available to teach your kids about coding? We cover these plus unveil more exciting LTE news – all in this week’s edition of Weekend Reading.
Who has more first dates? iPhone, Android, Blackberry or Windows users?
Of 5,000 people surveyed in the U.S., 49 per cent of single iPhone users went on at least one date in 2012. In a close second was Windows with 46 per cent, then Android at 44 per cent and Blackberry at 42 per cent.
So what does this say about smartphone owners and their dating styles? Check out the full article and survey on Mashable here. Has your smartphone affected your dating life? If so, how?
Coding apps for kids
When I was in school, elective courses included things like music and art. While these are still considered optional, much of today’s curriculum is changing to reflect the needs of our current economy. Coding may not be a widely offered course yet, but you can give your kid a head start on learning one of the most in-demand skills for today’s job market.
This week, Read Write Web highlighted some great apps to teach your kids coding for programming. The six apps are designed for a variety of ages, starting as young as 5 years old. As Read Write Web points out, if you start them off young enough, you could end up raising the next Mark Zuckerberg!
Rogers LTE lights up in seven new markets this week
On Monday, Rogers was proud to announce that only four months into 2013, we have launched LTE in an additional seven markets. As part of our commitment to roll out LTE in 44 new markets this spring, Monday’s new markets include:
- Airdrie, Alberta
- Langley, B.C
- Keswick, Ont.
- Hamilton, including Grimsby, Ont.
- Orillia, Ont.
- Stratford, Ont.
- Ottawa, including Kanata, Nepean, Gloucester, Stittsville and Cumberland, Ont.
Kelly is a regular RedBoard contributor.
Today is Earth Day, a day when we celebrate the Earth and try to be even more eco-conscious. So along with turning out lights when you leave a room, turning down the thermostat and recycling all you can, here are four mobile apps that will help you live greener every day of the year.
Tips for going green If you’re looking for how to start embracing more environmentally-friendly habits, you might want to check the Go Green mobile app (iOS, free). A new tip pops up each time you launch the app. For example, “When you’re in the market for a new computer, consider a laptop. It saves space, goes anywhere and uses five times less energy than desktop models.” Each tip is then stored in “The Green List,” which you can reference at any time.
Recycling how-tos If you’re wondering where you can drop off empty paint cans or batteries in your area, you might want to check out 1-800 Recycling’s mobile app (iOS and Android, free). Available for “parts of Canada,” the app allows you to search nearby recycling centres based on the item you want to recycle. It then lists all the centres near you that accept it, includingthe location’s address, hours and phone number. You can even call the centre direct from the app.
Maintaining your green lifestyle Want to know just how Earth-friendly that package of peanut butter you’re about to pick up is? Good Guide (iOS and Android, free), scans product barcodes and rates them for health, environment and society. It also lists the ingredients, nutritional information and alternative products. And you can add in your personal standards to see how your favourite products stack up. The app lists more than 120,000 food, personal care and household products.
Make your commute a little greener Commute Greener (iOS, Android and Facebook) gives you points and badges as you improve the method of your daily commute. For example, I take the subway every day, so the app suggests I work from home one day a week or get a bike in order to make my commute a little better. You also get points and badges for recruiting friends, and can create challenges for your group to take part in.
What mobile apps do you use to help you live greener?
Sarah is a regular RedBoard contributor
Our obsession with all things mobile continued this week as we considered swapping our computers for the mobile ease of tablets and drooled over the latest new smartphones. The Samsung Galaxy S4’s motion control and the HTC One’s awesome audio are enough to consider a device upgrade – but how’s a girl to choose? We’ve also got some cool news about Twitter#music, Smart TVs and Rogers Anyplace TV, all in this week’s edition of weekend reading.
Trading for tablets
You see people scribbling notes on them in meetings and watching videos on them on airplanes. Toting a tablet has become a normal part of day to day life. But they’re now starting to replace our traditional desktop and notebook computers, we learned this week from MediaPost. Mojiva polled 1,000 U.S. adult tablet owners and found the majority, 84 per cent, now use their tablets for tasks they previously would have completed on their desktop or laptop. Nearly a quarter, 23 per cent, of those tablet owners spend two or more hours a day on their tablets, while 53 per cent are on their portable devices for at least one hour a day.
Tablets are also trumping smartphones for some functions. The survey found that 68 per cent of people would watch videos on their tablet but not their smartphone. And nearly half – 45 per cent – would shop online with their tablet, but not their smartphone.
Have you swapped your laptop for a tablet? Why? Why not?
You can now use social media to help predict which band will be the next big thing while you’re on the go. Twitter unveiled its new music discovery service on Thursday, with an iOS app and plans to expand to Android in the future. Called Twitter#music, it mines the social network for the most popular songs and artists and also suggests tracks, helping you populate new playlists wherever you are. The new interface, which also has a desktop option, allows users to play songs from Spotify, iTunes and Rdio – which means you’ll need a subscription – and, of course, share what they’re listening to. It’s now available in Canada, the U.S., the U.K., Ireland, Australia and New Zealand.
Have you tried Twitter#music? What did you think?
The Samsung Galaxy S4, now available for pre-order (new customers) and reservation (existing customers) offers a ton of upgrades on the popular Galaxy III, including a new “Smart Pause” function that senses when you look away from the screen, stopping your video until you return. It also has a five-inch screen with a crystal clear 1080p display, a “Dual Camera” that allows you to simultaneously use both the 2 MP front camera and the 13 MP rear camera for photos and video calls and the “Air Gesture” function, which lets you accept a call with a wave of your hand.
Meanwhile the HTC One, available now for $149.99 with select three years plans, makes sure your music plays loud and clear thanks to “HTC BoomSound” and dual front stereo speakers powered by Beats Audio amplifiers. It also has an ultrapixel camera and a feature called “HTC Zoe” that automatically creates 30-second videos from your photos. And with the “HTC Blink-Feed” function, the home screen streams real-time social media updates from all of your friends. MobileSyrup says it is “currently the best smartphone on the market.”
Both phones are also built to run on the blazing fast Rogers 2600 MHz LTE spectrum, Canada’s fastest wireless internet.
What features are you looking for in your next smartphone?
Rogers Anyplace TV launches on LG Smart TVs
You could already catch your favourite shows with Rogers Anyplace TV on your tablet, smartphone, Xbox and computer. And as of this week, more than 1,000 hours of content is available through Rogers Anyplace TV on 2012 and 2013 LG Smart TVs, including OLED and Ultra HD models. This is the first on demand video app of its kind in Canada, which authenticates to Rogers customer accounts via Smart TVs. Rogers customers need to create a profile on RogersAnyplaceTV.com to catch up on shows from City, Global and CBC. Cable customers have access to premium programming from their existing TV package subscriptions.
What’s your preferred screen for streaming your favourite shows?
Jennifer is a regular RedBoard contributor.
Could daydreaming about your vacation double as your password? Researchers have found a way to use brainwaves to authenticate your identity, and all you need to make it work is a $100 headset. Meanwhile, three-quarters of high income travellers are taking their smartphones on vacation, teens are coveting the iPhone and the new BlackBerry Q10 smartphone (yes, the one with the keyboard) will be rolling out from Rogers in the coming weeks.
One uppercase letter. One symbol. Don’t forget the number! Typing passwords could be on the way out, we learned this week from TechCrunch. Researchers at UC Berkeley School of Information have developed a way to think your password, using a $100 headset and brainwaves to authenticate users. Researchers say the so-called “pass-thoughts” could work by simply concentrating on breathing.
Other pass-thoughts included imagining moving a finger up and down, focusing on a dot on a piece of paper in response to a sound, imagining a repetitive motion from a sport, imagining singing a song, counting (silently) objects or focussing on a single thought for 10 seconds.
All these pass-thoughts worked to identify users, and researchers say the brainwave-based passwords could end up being an accessible, cheap and secure alternative to the pricier biometrics, such as fingerprint and retina scans, that are also being tested.
Would you try protecting your email with a “pass-thought?”
Staying connected on holiday
When I’m travelling, my suitcase is always a tangle of cords. I rely on smartphones, cameras and tablets to keep me on track (and from getting lost!) on holiday, while ensuring that all the fun is documented in photos, tweets and more. Not to mention how handy it is to check my flight status, look up restaurant reviews and make sure I’m not missing too much at home. Turns out, I share my travel habits with some high rollers. According to a recent study from Mediapost, 77 per cent of “affluents” – people with annual household incomes above $100,000 – vacationed with their smartphone last year, while 47 per cent toted tablets and laptops.
These high-income earners are logging on to read (40 per cent), make plans, check the weather (72 per cent) and get directions (66 per cent). Three-quarters use their devices to send personal emails, while nearly 40 per cent are posting updates to social media. And more than a third, 38 per cent, stay connected to their office by checking their work email.
Do you rely on your devices while on vacation?
American teens love their iPhones
Apple continues to win the hearts of American teenagers in the iOS vs. Android battle, according to Piper Jaffray’s 25th bi-annual teen survey. The report – which used classroom visits and electronic surveys to poll 1,600 teens from high-income families and 3,600 teens from average income families — found that nearly half (48 per cent) of teens own an iPhone, up from 40 per cent in the fall. And 62 per cent of teens plan to buy an iPhone for their next mobile device. Less than a quarter, 23 per cent, planned to buy an Android phone. That was a one per cent increase from the fall.
Teens are also choosing Apple when it comes to tablets, with 68 per cent planning to buy an iPad. The survey also found that more than half, 51 per cent, of teens owned a tablet and 17 per cent planned to buy one in the next six months.
What will your next device be? Apple, Android, BlackBerry or Windows?
Coming soon: The BlackBerry Q10 smartphone
Keyboard fans, rejoice! The BlackBerry Q10 smartphone, with its physical QWERTY keyboard and touch screen, will be arriving at Rogers retail locations across Canada in the coming weeks. It’s now available on the Rogers Reservation System and for new customers on rogers.com. Rogers is the first Canadian carrier to bring its customers the device with support for the blazing fast 2600 MHz LTE spectrum band. Rogers customers will also be the first to get the BlackBerry Q10 smartphone in white. The device is also available in black.
Touch screen or physical keyboard: which do you prefer for typing? Why?
Jennifer is a regular RedBoard contributor.
This week was all about communicating on the go. As we wished Happy 40th Birthday to the mobile phone on Wednesday, we couldn’t help but marvel at how phones have evolved from being “bricks” to the kinds of devices that 79 per cent of people keep on hand 22 hours a day. And we’re just going to keep getting even more connected, whether we’re loading our summer reading lists on an ereader or tablet or coveting the latest cutting-edge technology we can wear.
The mobile phone turns 40
Forty years ago, Motorola employee Martin Cooper launched the age of covertly checking your bags and pockets at every ring, ping and buzz.
On April 3, 1973, Cooper made what is widely viewed as the first public mobile phone call, using a 9-inch tall Motorola DynaTAC to call a rival colleague.
This hefty “brick phone” offered 35 minutes of talk-time and took 10 hours to recharge. Things have come a long way since then. My first mobile, nearly a decade ago, was a chunky flip phone. I had a miniscule number of minutes, a voicemail box that held three messages, and it took ages to type out- and decipher – the limited number of texts I sent and received each month.
Now, we take pocket-sized devices – with their myriad apps and data services – for granted as we wait for the next big thing, whether it’s Google Glass or the much-rumoured Apple smartwatch.
What was your first mobile phone?
Hit snooze, pick up cellphone? Last year, we learned that 55 per cent of people check their mobile before they brush their teeth in the morning. The latest report from IDC Research suggests that estimate might be low, with four out of five smartphone users checking their phones within 15 minutes of waking up. A whopping 62 per cent of 18-to 44-year-olds grab their mobiles as soon as they hear their alarm – and for 44 per cent of these people, their phone doubles as that wakeup call.
The Facebook sponsored report, which polled 7,446 Android and iPhone users aged 18 to 44 in March, also found that 70 per cent of us keep our phones nearby for 22 hours a day, while 63 per cent of us only part with them for an hour, at most. But I identify with that quarter of respondents who can’t think of a time of the day when their phone wasn’t in the same room!
As for what we’re doing with those phones in our waking hours, only 16 per cent of that time is used to make calls – the rest is spent communicating through texts, emails and social networks.
How many hours a day are you separated from your cellphone?
Carrying a phone is old-school, wear it instead
If the number of Nike+ FuelBands spotted around the office are any indication, wearable technology is taking off in 2013. And according to Reuters, Chinese search engine Baidu is following Google’s lead and working on digital eyewear similar to Google Glass. The company’s device, mounted on a headset with a small screen, will allow wearers to search by image and voice and conduct facial recognition matches. Baidu has not revealed whether it will be rolling out the product commercially.
Maybe the Rogers Tuque isn’t so far off, after all?
Get your summer reads on the go
No one wants to run out of reading materials halfway through their beach vacation. Stowing your summer reading list on an ereader or tablet is one way to ensure you always have access to a robust library. And, to help our readers get a head start on the summer fun, we’re sharing our favourite holiday book picks and giving away a Kindle PaperWhite 3G and the new Sony Xperia ZL smartphone here. Leave a comment on the summer reading post for your chance to win.
Jennifer is a regular RedBoard contributor.
As Earth Day approaches, we chatted with blogger Heather Hamilton, A.K.A. @tjzmommy on Twitter, about how her family does its part for the environment, websites that help teach her kids about energy savings and how Rogers Smart Home Monitoring (a system she’s trying out for a year) is helping her family, as well as the Earth.
What energy savings strategies do you use at home?
We are very conscious of our energy consumption in our house and it’s great to see that our kids have also jumped on board with our strategies. As a family, we are vigilant about turning off lights when we aren’t in the room and turning down the thermostat when we are not home. Since we have two boys, they do like to keep the lights on at night, but we have all worked hard to limit the energy to a small nightlight in the room, rather than leaving on a full bathroom light!
How do you teach your children about energy savings? Any cool apps or games you could recommend?
My kids love anything interactive on the computer, so here are our favourite energy- and eco-focused sites for kids:
- EcoKids has some great online games for kids to teach them about being energy efficient around the house and allows them to be part of the solution;
- Earth Rangers is such a great site to educate kids about animals and ideas on helping to give back to the environment – lots of opportunities to earn rewards along the way for helping;
- The US Department of Energy has a really kid-friendly site to engage kids, educate them and let them have fun while saving energy!
How is Rogers Smart Home Monitoring helping you save energy?
We left on a weekend away, shortly after the Rogers Smart Home Monitoring installation, and I totally forgot to turn down my thermostat! I’m far too cheap and eco-conscious to allow that to happen, so I logged onto my iPhone app and adjusted the temperature to be cooler while we were away. On the drive home, I logged back in and turned up the heat for when we got home.
Which feature(s) will be the handiest for Earth Day?
We will be using all of the features to save energy on Earth Day! We have created a list with the kids on how they can be active this Earth Day and work with us to reduce the energy we use, turn off taps, turn off lights and be more aware of paper products that they use.
Did you know that with Rogers Smart Home Monitoring you can get your lights and small appliances to turn on and off according to your schedule? You can read all about the system’s easy home automation features here.
Today, residents of New Brunswick – in Saint John, Fredericton and Moncton – and residents of St. John’s, Newfoundland, can book a FREE in-home assessment by visiting www.rogers.com/smarthome
What do you do to save energy? Share your tips in the comments below.
Sarah is a regular contributor to RedBoard
Lying in a hammock. Lazing on dock. Soaking up the rays on a pool deck or the sand. Waiting at the airport. We’ve all got summer on the brain, and the season presents so many opportunities to get lost in a good read. Whether you like to curl up with the good old fashioned paper variety or prefer downloading the latest titles to your ereader, the RogersBuzz team is sharing their favourite beach reads to help inspire your vacation book picks.
@RogersKeith: The TV series Game of Thrones drew me in to George R. R. Martin’s immersive world and the books didn’t disappoint. They’re big fat summer novels with maps and character charts. Start with A Game of Thrones and work your way through the series. By the end of the summer, you’ll be 5,000 pages in and desperately longing for Martin to finish book number six.
@RogersJenW Every summer I get inspired to revisit the classics, and Pride and Prejudice remains one of my all-time favourites. I love getting lost in the familiar love story of stubborn Lizzie and too-proud Mr. Darcy, who in my mind always looks like Colin Firth … And as for a new read, I can’t wait to pick up the Gillian Flynn thriller Gone Girl – I’ve heard it’s enthralling enough to make waiting at the airport just fly by.
@RogersMary: I like to lighten-up in the summer and read books that are fun and maybe just a bit romantic. My favourite author right now is @TinaReber who wrote Love Unscripted and the follow-up Love Unrehearsed. Definitely swoon-worthy and perfect for the beach or lazy summer nights. This summer, I’m looking forward to adding some suspense and have heard that Three Graves Full is a must-read.
@RogersSarahM: Classic summer read: Anything from the Shopaholic series, but especially the first three books: Adventures of a Shopaholic, Shopaholic takes Manhattan and Shopaholic Ties the Knot. This summer, I’m looking forward to Sophie Kinsella’s new book, Wedding Night, and Lauren Weisberger’s Revenge Wears Prada, the sequel to The Devil Wears Prada.
And you can pack all these titles away for your cottage weekend with an ereader. For a limited time, activate a new smartphone on a new line with a three-year term and you could be eligible to get a free Kindle Paperwhite 3G. For full details, see www.rogers.com/kindleoffer.
To reward our loyal RedBoard and FilRouge fans, we’re giving one lucky reader a Kindle Paperwhite 3G and a brand new Sony Xperia ZL smartphone – with a five-inch HD display and a 13 MP camera – which is launching on rogers.com and at Rogers retail locations today. The Kindle Paperwhite 3G features a built in light, eight-week battery life and storage for up to 1,100 books.
Just leave a comment below sharing your favourite summer read before noon on April 15, 2013 for a chance to win. We’ll randomly select one winner after the contest closes. For full contest details and rules, click here.
Update, April 16, 12 p.m.: Thanks to everyone who participated in our Summer Reading Contest! The prize has been drawn and we’ll be contacting the winner by email soon. Keep an eye on your inbox!
Picture this: It’s the coldest day of a harsh Canadian winter and you’re trudging through a metre of snow to get to a curling bonspiel. The bitter wind is blowing in your eyes and the snowflakes are so big you can’t tell your polar bear from the caribou.
What if you could pull your toque down over your eyeballs and see a visualization of the street, maps, hockey scores and wildlife in vibrant colours right on the wool of your toque?
Well now you can – with the new Rogers Toque, coming this fall to Rogers retail locations.
“Glass-é is pass-é, but wool is cool,” said Rogers Chief Hat Technology Officer Abril Foosdhay. “Through the science of science, we have reinvented wearable technology for the Canadian climate.”
The Rogers Toque connects seamlessly to any LTE-powered smartphone providing the fastest and most reliable toque technology on the planet.
How does it work?
“The Rogers Toque essentially displays exactly what you would see in front of you except it does it on the wool toque that covers your eyes and prevents you from seeing exactly what you would have seen if there weren’t wool in front of your eyes,” Ms. Foosdhay explained.
Other features of the Rogers Toque include:
- A built in stereo sound system
- Sensors that monitor your brain frequency as you listen to music and plays Canadian hits by Celine Dion, Carly Rae Jepsen, Justin Bieber or Nickelback depending on your mood
- Keeps your head warm
We don’t have pricing or launch timing yet, but click here to preregister for more information.
Happy April Fools’ Day from Rogers!
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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